Inspired by Robert Moore’s “essay on the anthropology of brand”:http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/els/02715309/2003/00000023/00000003/art00017 I’ve been reading “U R a Brand!”:http://www.amazon.com/Brand-People-Themselves-Business-Success/dp/0891062130/sr=8-1/qid=1168021696/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-0329361-8750447?ie=UTF8&s=books in order to make sure that in the years leading up to my tenure I find a sweet spot where me and a market opportunity meet.
To this end I recently undertook a self-brand audit using a SWOTs (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). One of the keys to establishing my value proposition, I found, was ‘choosing an enemy’. As the book explains,
Leonardo da Vinci positioned his younger rival Michelangelo as a mere sculptor who looked like a “baker” with white marble dust on his clothes, rather than an artist. Of course Leonardo’s branding attempt didn’t stick. Michelangelo went on to paint the ceilling of the Sistine Chapel. There was no doubt that Michelangelo’s brand footprint was quite big enough to encompass painter and sculpture.
In an attempt to build to develop an anti-leader position whose agile and responsive practices makes me stand out from the larger, more established industry leaders, I immediately visited the home page of “Andrew Strathern”:http://www.pitt.edu/~pittanth/faculty/strathern.html.
As I was reading this prime example of how to be an incredibly successful anthropology, I was struck by the tag-line at the upper right hand side of Pitt’s antho department homepage: What makes us different is what makes us human.
What an incredible genius of a slogan — here, I realized, I had finally found anthropology’s Unique Selling Proposition. This was the anthropological mindset in a nut shell. “What makes us different is what makes us human”. It captures the academic-cum-moral sensibility that anthropology as a discipline cherishes. It is poetically compact and parallelistic. And best of all it completely fails to inform us what exactly it is that makes us both human and different. What could be more anthropological than this hesitancy to commit epistemologically?