Personal Branding Across Cultures
By Marcela Jenney-Reyes
How does personal branding “translate” around the globe in other cultures?
Mi casa es su casa!
Have you ever walked into a small Latin or Asian market? If you have, you’re probably familiar with the immediate sense of rich culture (that may or may not be different from your own) that surrounds you. What is it about these places that give them this vivid genuine feeling? In this increasingly globalized and growingly uniform world it is still not difficult to find strong cultural links to foreign places.
Familiarity, comfort, and culture. Having a quaint global market in your town for the purpose of experiencing brands and items that you would not normally find in your typical supermarket is nice—but what are the underlying reasons that places like these exist? People always want to feel at home, no matter where in the world they are. We feel comfort from the ability to purchase products that are familiar and that share our roots. A recent study from the University of Miami by professors Cong Li and Wanhsiu Sunny Tsai shows that certain consumers strongly associate specific products and brands with their culture. These consumers gave favorable preference to products that they perceived were of their same ethnicity. Thus the idea that culture is restricted to means of dress, food, and certain dances is false—it goes far beyond that.
What does this mean for your business? This information is useful when choosing a target market so that your business can grow. A small business can benefit tremendously from having reached out to a certain unique community. If your brand inspires feelings of familiarity within clients, they may feel more comfortable purchasing from you—for reasons that they may not even be able to identify within themselves. These feelings can be achieved by marketing your brand to members of your own cultural community. You may even be able to incorporate yourself into the cultural fabric of your area. When it comes to branding across cultures, it sometimes may be best to take a slow route and start your growth within a confined community. Make your market feel at home so at the end of the day “mi casa es su casa.”
Marcela Jenney-Reyes 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.