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It's never too late to brand yourself

By unknown | Jan 03, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Amanda Ngudle

Have you ever seen a playground tortoise from your childhood on television and wondered how he shed his tedious image? Or watched in dismay as a high school loser zoomed past your skorokoro in a top-of-the-range machine on the highway?

Chances are that this dumbo learnt soon enough that his dead-end image was not cutting it and so promoted himself to the next level. It's called self-branding or self-marketing and it's the number one tool of most of the accomplished icons.

According to recruitment officer Zingisa Matiwane: "It is never too late to brand yourself."

If your New Year's resolutions have anything to do with being a leader, as opposed to a spectator, you will need to start with your image.

US humanitarian and queen of talk, Oprah Winfrey, once said: "In every aspect of our lives we are always asking ourselves: How am I of value? What is my worth?

"But I believe that worthiness is our birthright," she said.

It might be a birthright to feel worthy, but in a society that thrives on trampling on others to get the biggest piece of the pie, it is important to realise when time screams for a personal change.

"To make a change, we have to be the change," Winfrey continued.

And who better to quote in the war against submission to adversity than this dynamic woman who, despite being hugely successful, realised that talent alone was not enough?

For as long as we have known Winfrey, she has been cultivating her image and the results have been phenomenal.

When she was rumoured to be running for the presidency of the US, many were elated at the prospect. This was because, when Oprah speaks, the world listens.

And even though, in Helen S Garson's biography, she is said to have accepted a job at a television station before graduating from college, her choice of image made her a trailblazer in journalism.

Your image is composed of many peripherals that form the package called You.

Decades ago, Austrian satirist Karl Kraus said: "The world has become uglier since it began to look in a mirror every day, so let us settle for the mirror image and do without an inspection of the original."

Back then, the pressures of marketing and making oneself heard were as big as the South African book-club market. These days, what you wear is how you behave; you are the television programme you watch.

And in South Africa, being the reluctant rainbow nation that it is, there are special nuances that separate followers from winners. They can be seen in little things like twanging a pronunciation that has become something of an electric ladder in the job market.

There's also an opposition group that represents a segment of blacks who believe that English pronunciation is nul and void.

Whatever group you want to belong to, and however you want to project your image, you will need to consider the list below if you want to turn the tables around in the circles you move in.

l Your wardrobe - Remember that "first impressions" line? It hasn't changed.

l Your company - To be truly happy in your chosen career, you might want to look beyond the rewards. Make sure you are working for the company that represents your principles and policies in life.

l Your talents - Sometimes you need more than just talent. You need to outdo any one who has performed your duties by immersing yourself in knowledge about your career.

l Your effort - Talent scouts watch performers and take them places so, even if you work for the most disgusting company, one day your efforts will pay off.

l Your social circles - The idiom about birds of the same feather has always been controversial to me, but most people will tell you that friends of low morale and blurred foresight have rubbed their bad traits off on them.


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