Personal PR – Blow Your Own Trumpet!
Okay, wipe away all obtuse tangents of thought from your mind and let’s get down to what all of us as artists and designers must do, but don’t for many a reason. Yes, I’m talking about self-promotion. Either we’re so critical that we refuse to believe that we are any good or we are so modest that we believe that our work must speak for itself. Whatever the reason, I’m here to say that you do deserve to portray yourself in the best light and while your work may be the cat’s whisker’s it’s so much nicer for everyone and their cat to get to know you better. Just to make the world a better place to live in you know :) As you can see, something’s been tickling my funny bone and no, it’s not my trumpet!
Who am I?
The quintessential question plaguing all philosophers and seekers from the beginning of time. It’s time to match wits with the best thinkers in the history of time and come up with your own unique answer to this eternal question. Many artists through the history of time have created self-portraits. Narcissus might have been the first to stare at his reflection and become so involved that he fell in love with himself. Then again you may abhor the very sight of yourself so much so that you never wish to talk about yourself. Most of us never fall into such extremities, but it is very important for one to be aware of who one is; strengths, weaknesses, virtues and faults alike. Once you have obtained and outlined this information from a process of introspection and self-discovery, what do you do with this information? Picasso created more than 10 self-portraits in his lifetime, some so stylized that he’s unrecognizable and in others, more handsome than he really was. They’re all varying ways in which Picasso saw himself. Though all the images represent the same person, they encourage us to view the man through a different lens each time. Similarly branding oneself is akin to creating a portrait where you depict yourself to your audience. As artists and designers, it is useful to do so and I believe not wanting to do so is no more than false humility. Each one of us is unique which is evident by our physical form if not more deeper values and beliefs. As an extension of this individuality, express yourself.
Charity begins at Home
Many of us are designers who work with brand identity and establishing corporate collateral for companies. When we work so hard to establish a firm’s visual identity and branding and even more time convincing them that this is of paramount importance, it ironic that we never take the same amount of time and effort to do the same ourselves. My own website for example is extremely outdated in comparison with my latest body of work. I can’t remember the last time I updated the latest works I’ve completed. In contrast, when working for a client, I spend hours researching the relevant industry; it’s associated culture, ideas and latest news before crafting a strategy for portraying my client in the best light possible. I attribute this to the fact that I’m always the last person to pat myself on the back for a job well done. While this may appear to many as a sign of humility, balance must be sought and one must consciously endeavor to compliment oneself on a good job and the first step in doing so is working on your personal branding. Establish your portfolio online and outline your strengths to prospective clients. As artists and designers, we choose to make the world a better and more beautiful & colorful place to live in. Well, I say what better place to start from than your own self? Charity begins at home right? So get started today on the project to spruce and spice up your dated personal identity; be it a logo, website, portfolio or just the way you look!
What are you good at? What are you ‘amongst the very best’ at? Are you a one-trick pony or a jack-of-all-trades? Whether you are a specialist or a generalist, it doesn’t matter any if all that you do is unknown to those who are looking for someone like you to help them achieve their objectives. Remember that every interaction with a client offers you an opportunity to create something of value to your client, to yourself creatively and also to society as a while if the project so warrants. Thus it is your duty to ensure that you represent yourself accurately and effectively, ensuring that your ‘mad skills’ get the publicity that they deserve. Don’t be afraid of the paparazzi :) Go out there and show the world who you are and why you are the best at what you do! Market yourself on the ability to meet the needs of clients who seek you out. If you are an expert in your field or niche, communicate this to your clients. If you’re offering your skills, advice or other service as an expert, it helps to run a blog with in-depth articles on your field, connect with related trade organizations and showcase your years of experience. Like me, you can choose to write articles or do interviews for magazines, local newspapers or popular websites in your niche. While most us as experts are home-grown or self-schooled, getting formal qualifications offers clients more assurance and yourself more credibility. Complete certificates courses related to to your career in a few weeks. With the advent of the social media, you can organize groups and communities online to share your knowledge by teaching or even contact the local university and offer to share your expertise in the real world. Of course none of this holds any merit, if you don’t communicate them to the world. Mention them as accomplishments in your resume, bio under your qualifications.
Cut to the Chase
Prepare a pitch that describes who you are, what you do and how you can help. You must be ready to present this verbally when you meet people face to face or in the written form. This sort of pitch should communicate a lot in a little. Meaning that you must learn to condense all your abilities, skills, talents, qualifications and experience into a short outline of yourself to use as an introduction. This will be of vital importance when you meet someone with the potential to help your business: a prospective client, someone you can collaborate with, or someone who might offer you connect you with someone else he knows. Keep it simple by answering just the basic questions like
Now gather together all that you have created in the process of reading this post and let’s arrange all those elements of your identity together. With a little bit of time, money and effort you can get together your personal logo, business cards, imagery for your social profiles online, signatures to use in email and forums where you regularly interact, website design, etc. and dive into the deep sea of networking and human connectivity. Build trust and portray yourself according to the way you are positioning yourself. Dress slick and look professional you are that’s how you wish to be perceived. Go grunge and dirty up your associated imagery if that’s how you want to roll. Tailor-make and create something exclusively ‘you’ to suit your unique positioning. You may even consider hiring a professional photographer to take a portrait. Juice up your web presence since prospects might take a haphazard job as an indicator of your work ethic. While I believe that it is one’s vibration and genuinely that make a person and not just his shoes, it is necessary to acknowledge that in the world today perception is everything.