How a Smaller iPad, a Microsoft Firing, Teach about Personal PR

Personal PR

A path to your success can be tricky without PR for you

There are rumors swirling again about a smaller iPad being a possibility.  But, the part of this story that got my attention was that it points out how Steve Jobs hated the idea of a smaller iPad.  In another recent guest post on TechCrunch, a recently fired Microsoft employee wrote about how his downfall came about while also seemingly trying to make a point about Microsoft’s ‘inefficiencies’ being a contributor.  These stories reminded me of a book I read a few years ago: Positioning; The Battle for Your Mind.  One section of the book discusses positioning yourself.  And so, these stories remind of the importance of personal public relations – doing PR for you…

Do the Smaller iPad
Tim Cook is now the CEO of Apple and his actions will continue to be compared and contrasted with Steve Jobs’ history for the foreseeable future.  Here’s a guy in Tim Cook that took over as CEO of a company that Steve Jobs is credited for building to be the most valuable company in the world.  Indeed, those are tough shoes to follow.  At the same time, Cook was fortunate to climb his path to success next to Steve Jobs.  But, he’ll be compared and contrasted for what might seem forever.  Cook should do the smaller iPad (assuming market research has panned out) and then some, to change this.

Careful What You Write
As for the former Microsoft employee, there are many favorable post comments about what he wrote on Microsoft being too ‘strict’ or ‘inefficient’ in its ways.  Regardless of this positive feedback, if I would have been asked by this person before his post if he should write it, I would have advised against it.  Personal PR is about building bridges to success and I see this post more as a bridge to nowhere.  So, how can you do your personal PR?

Doing Personal PR – Positioning Yourself
The book I mentioned earlier, authored by Al Reis and Jack Trout, provides some valuable advice on positioning yourself for success.  Despite being published in the 80s, the advice is still relevant.  I’ll paraphrase some key points and inject some additional thoughts.

You are a product too: Positioning yourself is similar to positioning a product.  It’s important to hang your hat on something, not just toss it all about.  Like a product, you can’t be all things to all people.  Pick one ‘theme’ about you; make yourself as strong as you can be geared toward that theme and start promoting and positioning yourself in it.  But, be prepared to shift gears as necessary – what’s in today is in today and sometimes it’s also on its way out just as fast.

The Company You Keep: Find an employer that can bring success to you just as much or more than they expect you to bring success to them. Promotions and raises don’t usually come from long hours of work, etc. – success often comes not just from within but from what others can do for you.  More on this point in a bit…  Basically, if your company / employer are going somewhere then it increases your chances for success.

The Boss You Have: Just as your company / employer is important, so is your boss – is he / she going places?  Your boss’ success is likely to lead to success for you.  Many people work for bosses they feel they know more than, or that they feel are incompetent, etc.  If this is the case, you need to find a new boss.  Would Tim Cook be in his position today if he didn’t have Steve Jobs as a boss for many years beforehand?

The Friends You Make: Back to the point about what others can do for you – make business friends, not just acquaintances.  Successful career paths are often carved by business friends.  Of course, who you know can only take you so far – you have to balance who you know with a good dose of what you know.  Together, your personal PR can go a longer way.

The Things You Know: Ideas are important to your personal PR but, only if you act on them.  Don’t wait until everyone loves your idea because that will never happen.  As quoted in the book, “One indication of the validity of a principle,” said psychologist Charles Osgood, “is the vigor and persistence with which it is opposed.”  Ideas in action are opportunities to do successful personal PR.

Have a Little Faith: Faith in others is equally important to your personal PR.  Where one person has a marketable idea but no faith in it, that instance might be your opportunity for success.  Listen to the ideas of others as if they could be your own idea and be ready to leverage it if they don’t.  I’m not suggesting you steal ideas – give credit where credit is due and it might be a good idea to bring the originator of the idea along for the ride.

I Believe in Me: Finally, it goes without saying you must believe in yourself and exude it – without ego.  When it comes to doing all of the above, you must believe that you can do it.  Whatever craft you pick, master it by first believing you can do it.  When you go to work for a company, it must not only be one you believe in but also, one you believe you will benefit from.  Same goes for the boss you work with.  When you make business friends, believing in yourself and in them will go a long way in blossoming relationships with them.  When it comes to having faith in your ideas or someone else and their ideas, well, it first starts with believing in yourself.  Your personal PR starts with belief in you.  Always bet on you.