Personal Branding Across Cultures
By Marcela Jenney
How does personal branding “translate” around the globe in other cultures?
This column will discuss various aspects of cross-cultural branding that should be considered as we develop our brand across cultures and in diverse environments. Topics will include language, communication styles, social interactions, traditions, rituals, aesthetics preferences and value systems.
Color, Culture and Communication
Color is one of the most important keys to communication in the global marketplace. It plays an instrumental role in attracting your target market(s), capturing and retaining their attention, shaping their perceptions, attitudes and opinions, and ultimately influencing their decision to buy your products or services.
Communicating Through Color
From the logo, image and signage to the display, packaging and even the product itself, color is among the most engaging and persuasive aspects of any brand, including your personal brand. In addition to connecting with consumers on a sensory level, color has an uncanny ability to transcend demographic factors such as age, gender and ethnicity, and establish an emotional connection with virtually any target market.
A Culture of Color
Over the past few decades, globalization has increasingly dominated the overall market for most goods and services. However, you must be aware of the cultural color differences that exist among most nations around the world, especially since color perception, interpretation and preferences vary by culture and ethnicity. The tricky part is determining which colors are best-suited to the target market you’re trying to attract.
A few examples include: Blue is the most popular and commonly used corporate color in the United States, but is perceived as cold and evil in East Asia, warmth in the Netherlands, coldness and masculinity in Sweden, death in Iran, purity in India, and femininity in Belgium and the Netherlands!
Green represents danger or disease in Malaysia and envy in Belgium, but love and happiness in Japan, and sincerity, and trustworthiness and dependability in China! White symbolizes mourning or death in East Asia, but happiness and purity in Australia, New Zealand and the United States!
Made in the Shade
While determining what color best represents your personal brand, it is important to take into account the target market you are trying to reach. Before you enter the global marketplace, don’t forget to research and determine which colors compliment your brand and the cultural ethnicity of your target market. You’ll be glad you did!
Marcela Jenney is an international entrepreneurial marketing expert, business coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience. She partners with language service providers as well as professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds.