Dating Advice: Branding for Daters

In Marketing, there is a myriad of tools and tactics at a professional’s disposal, to use as needed based on the situation, client, product or service. My hunch, and blame it on my MBA, is that these same tools and tactics can be overlaid or slightly modified to improve our dating lives.

When you launch a product or business, you have to plan on marketing that product to the appropriate target audience, because the goal is to build a brand that naturally resonates with customers.

Surprisingly that does not actually happen naturally.

It never happens overnight and it never happens in a vacuum. The most sublime, subtle, quite brands have expended tremendous energy, money, and creativity in cultivating their look and feel.

Why would you spend any less time cultivating your authentic self when looking for the love of your life?

I provide advice to anyone who wants to learn how our communications styles and skills are impacting our romantic lives in ways that we rarely notice. Your pictures, your social media posts, your texts tell a story – whether you are dating online or simply socializing with friends in the digital world.  And as callous and brash and cold as that sounds, we have to understand that we live in a visual, technology-driven world. Even though our relationship happens in real life, the first connections, introductions, and conversations will most likely start on a digital platform and that experience will form the basis of that relationship.

If you can master the art and science of cultivating your authentic self and your most sincere desires online, you will increase your shot at being lucky in love.

The theory is this: the strategies and tactics that I have used for 25 years (I’m older than I look) in marketing positions, can be tweaked slightly to address our personal communications and interactions.

There is a ton of information on personal branding and image available online. We seem to be doing a great job of managing our personal brands in our work lives. We update Linkedin, we Tweet, we write blog posts.

Something happens when it comes to finding a mate. We want the rules of nature to take over and our perfect partner to drop out of the sky and appear before us.

Good luck with that!

But this is not about marketing yourself up. This is not putting lipstick on a pig and calling it a peacock.

When clients call and ask me to write a press release that clearly states or claims something untrue or even simply unverifiable, I call bullshit. I counsel and chat and cajole until they understand that full frontal honesty is the best approach. We might put a fig leaf over that full frontal but authenticity is key.

So when you apply the principles of branding and marketing to dating, it is about authentically presenting your best self in a way that will likely attract your best partner.

I see it over and over again with my friends and clients.

They post that they are athletic. They post this because they want to meet an athletic mate or they think that athleticism will be attractive to their best mate. Then they bitch because all their dates want to do is meet at the gym. So maybe we use different words to describe their interests and needs.

People are not helpless in finding love. Below is a list of marketing tactics and how to use them to improve your dating life.

Images Rule

This is a big one in marketing and in dating. A lot of time and effort needs to go into selecting the photos that you use. The goal is to go for maximum impact, not necessarily the best photo or the most staged photo. I work with clients on photos first because often what people think their photo is saying is not what it is saying.

Use Emotion

Some people turn into robots when they feel awkward so the idea of being emotional with a stranger online seems ridiculous. To date better, you need to find things that you are emotional about and highlight them in your profile and communications. Use the word LOVE! Show your passionate side. Yes, sex sells, but don’t go that route. Try sprinkling your communications with emotion instead.

People date for obvious reasons: love, fun, companionship, sex. But there are other attributes that a partner may need to bring to a person’s life. A relationship goal (no matter how subconscious it may be) might include having a better social life, being more respected by family and friends or being compatible with married friends. You need to tap into those hidden desires to connect emotionally with potential partners.

Use The Right Words

If you want to be viewed as sexy, use the word sexy. Words like authentic, loyal and kind frame you in the suitors’ eyes. But some are overused – like isn’t everyone online “honest.” Try to frame your dating story with different words that help to tell your story.

Don’t just tell people you are nice, use words that explain what is unique about you. And use the right words to explain what you want. If a woman tells her dates that she loves funny, honest men and then tells her date that she likes how he makes her laugh and how genuine he is with her, then he will work harder to be funny and honest. He will associate himself with the good things that she said. Which is why we never talk about negatives on dates and we always frame our desires in the positive.

Address Flaws

This is a common sales trick that actually works! Highlighting your flaws and embracing them and knowing that you are worthy and valuable and lovable in spite of or even because of your flaws is very alluring. When you are thinking about your profile and the words that you will write do not try to sound too perfect. Be perfectly you. If you often forget people’s names then admit that and include something that you do well. This will lead to the next suggestion…

Defeat the Competition

Ideally, you have set things up so well that when you meet your soulmate, technically there won’t be any competition because they will only see you and no one else, but until then, you have to frame yourself against all of the potential daters out there. Addressing your flaws can help you work up to what gives you greater value. The key to this type of psychological marketing is that professionals do not simply stand on the rooftops and shout their flaws and unique selling propositions to anyone who passes. No, no, no. Successful marketing is based on research, data collection, and a keen understanding of the customer. In dating, if you want to score a high-value partner, then you need to know what attributes they value and be sure that you can compete in that category.

Provide Exclusivity

This is one of my favorites! If you will date anyone, anytime, then no one is really going to try very hard to date you. It may seem old-fashioned, but being easy (I do not mean in a sexual way, but in any way) makes you disposable. I have seen this in both men and women and it simply backfires. There is such a thing as being too nice and too available at the beginning of a relationship. If you are busy and have several dates per month, your suitors (the real ones that are really interested) will step up to claim their prize. Now, this can backfire horribly if you get anywhere close to bragging, threatening, or withholding, so it better be real and be authentically you.

This is where you might want to include some Social Proof as well. When you are casually dating, it is ok to talk positively about your dates. If you are genuinely sharing your fun stories, it can make you more datable.

Inaction Consequences, Impulse Buys & Loss Aversion

More marketing terms, but basically, FOMO (fear of missing out) is real! That’s why ads are constantly screaming ‘Limited Time Only’ or ‘Ending Soon.’ While it is hard to put a timeline on love, it is beneficial to create a sense of urgency for the people who are pursuing you. If you say that you won’t wait around for a person, then you better be able to stick to that. Consumers want to find pleasure and avoid pain. Those are everyone’s guiding principles. You can move your dating life forward faster if dating you provides pleasure for your partner and the thought of losing you provides pain. It is motivation on both ends. And we see this in the happiest couples: They love being together and they freely admit that their lives would be horrible without the other.

We are also impulsive creatures. We think that we are quite sophisticated, but all that candy in the check out lane is there for a reason: It sells! People cannot pass up a good deal. If you give someone a chance to chat now, they will likely take it on impulse. And while marketing is often about Scarcity, this concept in dating can work too. Potential partners need to know that you won’t be hanging out for months hoping to get their attention. That’s why I tell clients to shut off their dating apps once in a while. Take a break. Let people miss you a little bit.

The Power of Yes!

Marketers are always trying to get small yesses. Yes, you can have my email. Yes, you can send me your newsletter. Yes, I will follow you on social media. They know that a string of small yesses will more likely lead to a big yes! Say ‘yes’ as often as possible. Even if you’re going to shift the conversation, start with a Yes!

If your dates askes, ‘Can we have dinner on Thursday at 5:30 pm’ but you know you are not available, say: ‘Yes, I would love to have dinner with you. However, I have a late work meeting, can we meet at 8 pm.’

Your date will be thrilled that they got the yes.


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