Personal Branding Across Cultures
By Marcela Jenney-Reyes
How does personal branding “translate” around the globe in other cultures?
The Sincerity of Your Brand Personality
Marketers are faced with a tough task when it comes to constructing a personality to represent their brand. This is something that must be done intentionally, because in a vast market where a variety of choices exist, consumers ultimately make decisions based on the “feel” of a product. The vibes that a brand gives off are the result of a set of characteristics that marketers strategically give it. These characteristics are human-like by design, allowing customers to personally connect with a product, and thus build a relationship with it.
The cultural differences
Maintaining a consistent brand personality can prove to be difficult when a brand is marketed identically across the globe. The norms and values that are most important to a society vary across cultures, potentially leading to an array of interpretations of a brand’s personality. To amend this, some advocate slightly tweaking the way a brand is marketed for different cultures. The result of this should be a consistent representation of a brand across the world, despite differences in culture. However, this is not always necessary.
So, when keeping the brand identical between cultures, how does one know the ideal characteristics to give a brand for optimal human-product bonding?
A study conducted by Jennifer Aaker points to five key “personality dimensions” that are globally embraced. One that stands out as being notably influential is the dimension of sincerity. Brand personalities are often the basis for a long-term relationship with your brand.
Volvo, the Swedish carmaker, is a great example of a brand depicting this personality trait. Volvo is all about highlighting safety, design, performance and the environment, the traits associated with its brand. These traits are important to the Volvo driver who is aware that these elements are thoroughly considered in the design process. Volvo has been sincere not just to its brand but also to its consumers.
Aim for your brand to come across as honest, genuine, straightforward, balanced, and/or sensible. Sincerity is a human trait that is globally valued, and integral in the building of a relationship in which trust is a main component. The importance of trust in any relationship is irrefutable. Keep sincerity in mind when constructing your brand’s human persona. To be sincere, always practice what you preach.
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.