Personal Branding Across Cultures: Cultural Authenticity

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.

Cultural Authenticity: Keeping Yourself ‘Real’

Regardless of which global market you are trying to penetrate that market’s consumers buy YOU long before they consider purchasing your products or services. That’s why, as a ‘solopreneur’ targeting overseas markets, it is imperative that you cultivate a personal branding strategy that captures their hearts and minds WITHOUT losing your ‘sense of self’ in the process. The million-dollar question is…How?

Cultural diversity does much more than determine your physical characteristics, ethnicity and language. In many ways, you are defined by your unique cultural influences; they guide how you live, act, think and communicate with the world around you. And that is what your prospective customers are really interested in. As a result, it is inherently important that you preserve your cultural authenticity to elevate yourself above your competition and make the most of your personal brand.

Sofia Vergara at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards courtesy of Capital M on Flickr

A great example of someone who has developed a highly successful personal brand without sacrificing her unique cultural authenticity is Sofia Vergara, Colombian-born actress, comedian, television host, model, and entrepreneur. Vergara currently stars in the hit ABC-TV comedy series, Modern Family. Vergara plays the character of Gloria, a divorcee and mother involved in a May-December marriage to an older American man. Vergara plays a passionate, sexy, charming, engaging, true to her culture – funny character. She has brought critical acclaim to the series…and unprecedented success in her career. 

On her 20-year road to international stardom, Vergara overcame many personal obstacles, including the kidnapping-murder of her brother, divorce and a bout with thyroid cancer. Through it all, maintaining her unique cultural authenticity has enabled her to emerge as one of today’s most recognized and admired personal brands in the entertainment industry and around the world. By staying true to herself and her culture, Vergara has achieved a level of global success that exceeded her greatest expectations.

By staying true to yourself and your cultural authenticity, you can, too! 

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.


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