So, I have to admit something…
self marketing totally freaks me out.
I am a firmly believer and practitioner of Blackgirlmagic. I do it everyday, just by being. I know how powerful this magic is, and how critical it is to share this magic. I do, but not when it comes to myself. I encourage and understand the importance of selfies of QTPOC that society tries to shut out. Yes, it completely blows my mind how resilient and inspiring and beautiful these black and queer and trans folk are. I marvel at the conversations happening and communities being built across countries and continents through technology, and how selfies, affirmations, and taking advantage of the web to show up and show out.
I realize that every selfie is an act of self determination saying we are, we are beautiful, we are fabulous, we demand full lives. You see us. Every self-affirming caption is saying that you- white supremacist, homophobic, transphobic, slut shaming, fat shaming, ableist, xenophobic, society- we live in has not killed me, I am here. The communities are built through the inter webs, collectively, our communities are finding ways to thrive and get free together are astonishing.
Yet, I have never felt comfortable enough to claim my value in that way.
I would feel extremely narcissistic and uncomfortable posting about my projects. My default thinking was always that no one really cares about the work that I am doing. No matter how important and necessary the work is, which is really doing a disservice to my community who need the healing, and to myself, because I feel alive when I doing this work.
However, this weekend I did a workshop with Nia Austin Edwards, a dancer, communications director at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and founder and marketing consultant “of PURPOSE Productions — a company that supports artists and organizers in the manifestation of PURPOSE-full work that seeks to unify and develop our world community.” As a self described “Kwanzaa Kid,” who her workshop and the she approach to marketing is unlike any I’ve heard it before because it centers around the Kwanzaa principles (!), instead the usually capitalist jargon that’s usually associated with marketing.
I want to share just a few points she made that resonated with me and has encouraged my own re-examination to self promotion, and how it can be a tool for healing and affirming self worth.
Purpose, the Final P:
If you’ve ever taken a marketing class you’ve heard it a million times, in order to have a successful marketing campaign, you must be familiar with the P’s of marketing . These P’s can range from 4 P’s; which usually include price, product, people, and place, and then there’s the more extensive list of P’s which include promotion, positioning, and packaging. None of these lists include the most important P of all, purpose. Why are you marketing this product (which can include you!)? Your purpose should be clear from the beginning; who you are, and why you do what you do.
Marketing as Storytelling:
After that, she reframed the entire narrative of marketing. Instead of this forced and non-genuine attempt to buy things they don’t need, she explained marketing as storytelling. How are you telling your story? What makes your story, your beginnings into the pole and aerial arts, your movement journey, your freestyles, rehearsals, etc. special? What makes you, you? Highlight those things. You don’t have to become a “brand,” or become someone else. Just tell your story. Be your authentic self. It will make connecting with other people more natural, and you will find the opportunities that align with your purpose.
Disrupting the Capitalist Culture:
Self promotion as a way to disrupt the capitalist culture- showing that there are other ways to thrive in this society. If you are creating a life that is beyond the confines of this big business/ consumerism driven culture, it is ESSENTIAL that you share, so that others know that this too, is possible indeed
Self-Promotion as Self Care:
And finally, my favorite, self promotion as self care. By being vulnerable (which become happen depending on how much of your story you are willing to share), constantly re-examining your goals and purpose and making sure they are aligned, and telling about yourself in a loving manner (which should be inherent in any self-marketing), you are constantly affirming your self worth, and honoring that your gifts should be shared.
Of course, there a many of factors that go into the big picture of marketing, but as a crash course in ethical & loving marketing, it was pretty amazing. This workshop was the catalyst of shifting my perceptions of marketing. For someone who has MAJOR mental hurdles of self marketing, I feel like I am on the road to healthier relationship with this thang.
I can’t give away all of her secrets, but if this sparked your interest at all, I would HIGHLY recommend reaching out to Nia to set up a consultation session at her website, www.http://www.purposeproductions.org.