By Marcela Jenney-Reyes
How does personal branding “translate” around the globe in other cultures?
David Beckham’s Personal Brand Legacy: What we can learn from it?
David Beckham is not only a fantastic soccer player but also an internationally recognized “household” brand by even those who know nothing of the sport. While there are many amazing soccer players who are also notoriously good-looking, what was different about Beckham that made him stand out? Not to mention, how has he managed to remain so famous for so long, even after his move from Europe to the United States? David Beckham’s characteristic brand was not created overnight and was also not accidental. So how did he do it?
An interesting segment of Beckham’s career was his decision to sign with the LA Galaxy, taking him from Europe to the United States. This move was a big culture shock for both him and his fans, and required him to make adjustments and adaptations to his brand. The culture difference between Europe and the United States is bigger than many would expect, and for Beckham this meant redefining his image.
How Beckham used his brand to make soccer a more popular sport in America
Interestingly enough, Beckham did not choose to move to Los Angeles as a last resort. He carefully chose this location because here, soccer was not the number one sport. He envisioned “taking soccer to another level” in the United States and made doing so his goal. However, after living and working in the U.S. for some time, he found that he would have to adapt to the local ways of life to promote soccer in this country. The reason behind this lay deeply rooted in American culture, where celebrities enjoy a significant amount of public attention, so much so that his success as a first-class player was not enough.
Beckham was ultimately able to make soccer more popular in the U.S. by using his celebrity status to draw attention to the sport. In America, Beckham is famous for being fabulously good-looking, British, a great soccer player, and for having a big personality. His fame as an individual, rather than his soccer skills, gave the sport the recognition he wanted.
What can we learn from this? It is important to recognize the differences in values across the world. This can not be stressed enough, as cultural differences can change the way you and your brand are perceived. Become aware of the norms and values of your market, and then bring attention to your brand attributes that are in alignment with them. This strategy worked for David Beckham and his dreams for soccer in America, and it can also work for you.
Marcela Jenney-Reyes, MBA is a global marketing expert, business coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience. Her clients include language service providers, entrepreneurs and business professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds.