Creating Your Dating Brand, Part One
“I’m not that interesting,” a single friend said to me recently. “What do I put on a dating profile?” she asked. “You are far more interesting than you believe,” I responded. “You just have to tell your story in a different way.”
If you plan to enter the world of online dating, among the decisions you’ll make (besides what sites to join) is how to create your brand. For singles who are working up the courage to date again, the need to market yourself often feels as scary as the idea of going out with strangers.
But there is good news! Once you know the story you’ll tell about yourself, you also will have figured out what makes you unique. And that uniqueness is what makes you interesting.
HOW AM I DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE ELSE?
When I was a child, I was fascinated by snowflakes. My grandmother would bundle me up and take me out to see the early falling snow. We would delight in the shape and pattern of each snowflake, different from all the rest. I can vividly recall her saying to me:
“Now Kate, remember that you are just like a snowflake. There is no one in the world exactly like you. No one was ever in the world like you before, and no one will ever be born just like you in the future.”
We often are attracted to others – friends and romantic partners – because we recognize in them what is similar to ourselves. And that’s a legitimate way to build relationships.
But in truth no one but you who has your particular set of experiences. And that’s good. Because what differentiates us from others is what makes us interesting.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
Any entity that requires an identifiable image – a product, a service, a business, a team – must figure out what their brand is. There are four components to building a brand: the description of the entity, the identification of competitive advantages, the benefit to the user of the brand, and the visual associated with the brand.
Let’s take Cheerios cereal as an example. The description will likely reference shape and ingredients. Competitive advantages over other cereals could range from how long it keeps its shape in milk to how much kids prefer it. Benefits for the user might include the introduction of healthy habits for increased metabolism to a reference of Cheerios’ multi-purpose use for breakfast and snacks. The visual is the bright yellow box and logo. Taking the need for differentiation even one step further, Cheerios introduced a heart shaped cereal for Valentine’s.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I CONSIDER TO DESCRIBE ME?
The first step in crafting your brand is answering questions to define you. Here are three for you to consider. I’ll share three more in my column next month.
- WHAT DO YOU DO?
For most of us, our identity is shaped by what we spend our time doing, either for a paycheck or not. Our professional and personal choices reflect what we are committed to, which may include our education and training. Whether you currently like what you are doing or you don’t, this aspect of you is a key ingredient of your brand.
- WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Our place of residence shapes who we are. We may make assumptions that we all are similar if we live in a city or a suburb or in a rural setting. But New Yorkers and Washingtonians live different lifestyles from residents of Montana, North Dakota or Kansas. Not only does our space and taste say who we are, the culture we live in creates nuances about our lives that are an aspect of our brand.
- WHO DO YOU SPEND TIME WITH?
If you have ten brothers and sisters and four children, your life is very different than if you are a never married person with no children. If you are a work-from-home entrepreneur, you concern yourself with very different issues than a banker who manages a very large team. Who you choose to be with says a lot about your brand.
In my next column we will look at other questions that help define you. Write to me at Kate@KateSomerset.com to share your challenges with identifying your brand for a dating profile. Just remember…it’s a work in progress! But it’s worth it to get it right.