Self As Brand: A Writer Wednesday Post

April 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Irene in Essays | Publication News



Me, Inc. photo & all text © Irene O’Garden 2013

To listen to this post, please click here:Self As Brand

How odd, this phrase we’re reading everywhere: Self as Brand. From self as Soul, self as Citizen, even self as Consumer, to self as Thing To Market? Self as purposeful manufactured Product, publicly traded?

What to sell is an ancient question, surely. The market is a very, very, very old aspect of human life. For most of history our labor or the product thereof was what we sold. Nowadays it seems we can’t sell something unless we sell ourselves first.

I’m called to think about such things for the happy reason that the e-version of my Pushcart Prize-winning essay “Glad To Be Human” launches next week.

I’ve learned that now we makers must create the piece, create the platform and create the interest. Sheesh. Even God rested on the seventh day. (But, as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky says, “Skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.”)

My head’s been foaming questions: How can I sell my Self? You’ve already got one. What do you get when you open the package of me? And just how far do we go to reach our market?

I was asked to make a choice this week between a marketing strategy that would bring me more clicks,  but felt unlike me, and one that might prompt less interest, but felt true to myself.  Wrestling with that angel clarified things. Selling’s is not the same as selling out. So long as you are true to your “brand.”

Internet brouhaha aside, a brand is not a Self. It is a set of expectations to be honored.  The soap will lather. The seams won’t rip. The car will start.  I’ll post for you on Wednesdays and try to leave you glad you stopped by.

Self, yours and mine, is way beyond buying and selling. It’s what we freely, deeply constantly experience and what we share with one another.  Which is always something to be true to– as true as we are to the brands we love.


How does your personal “brand” come up in your world?

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  • mark r

    Love this week’s post… When I was just starting my career in Senior care/ Therapeutic Recreation I had accepted a low paying job at a senior living place with apartments for seniors and a small restauraunt — not exactly assisted living but one step before that. I took the job for the title knowing it would be a stepping stone to better paying director positions in
    the future. It was a meager salary….

    There was an elderly man there with whom I struck an easy friendship. Paul was legally blind but could make his way through the place without a cane / could see the shadow of people and things. He gave me 2 pieces of advice… when I told him I wanted to learn Spanish he said,” That’s easy, get a Spanish girlfriend.” The second piece of advice ” You are wasting your time here… you can do so well in sales… you have the personality and could go far”….I quizzed him about his former sales position ( he had done very well with a cosmetic company — working his way to a manager covering 4 states on the east coast).I asked him what his success was based upon and he told me the following:” The given is that you have a good product to sell…. but that’s not the most important thing… The most important thing is your relationship with the client…. you are selling the relationship — not the product. People like sending their business to someone they LIKE. I’ve seen many salespeople fail without this realization.”

    I used this advice in the following, challenging years working with the elderly
    ( often sick and understandably grumpy) . Going through the process of selling the relationship ( as opposed to the service offered by the senior facility in which I was working) was what appeased the difficult client… and I ended up making friends with men and women who absolutely had decided ( FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER) they were never going to be civil to me.— often harboring past mistakes of the facility in which I worked
    ” against” me. THE miracle was watching these hardened souls soften and slowly developing insightful and supportive friendships with them, Sometimes people adjust to our expectations of them… a kind word yields a kind word and vice versa. The law of attraction applies to all interpersonal interactions, I have learned. Thanks again Irene for getting me to acknowledge the positive.

  • IreneOGarden

    Thanks, Mark–you work wonders in relationship–

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