Personal Branding Across Cultures
By Marcela Jenney
How does personal branding “translate” around the globe in other cultures?
Unlocking the Secret to ‘Net’ Profits!
In recent years, the Internet has prompted an unprecedented global exchange of people, goods, services, information, and capital. As a result, the World Wide Web is now among the most dominant influences on cross-cultural marketing and advertising. This has led some international marketers to mistakenly believe that globalization has resulted in a unified convergence of culturally-diverse markets, and take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to brand development. However, when it comes to personal branding online, nothing could be further from the truth.
In spite of their universal impact on globalization, the Internet and World Wide Web DO NOT eliminate the numerous cultural differences and influences that exist from country-to-country. Therefore, your marketing research must give due consideration to a pair of the most important aspects of online brand development: consumption and culture.
The Internet is a relatively new channel of communication compared to the traditional media outlets (newspapers, radio and TV) through which advertising and public relations are disseminated. In nations where political, economic and technical factors influence media consumption, the impact of the Internet as a marketing tool is still somewhat limited. However, these factors are generally less significant in highly developed nations where Internet usage is widespread, and the Internet is considered a profit-based, marketable good. That’s why it’s necessary to determine whether your target markets’ Internet consumption is dependent on marketing, or their marketing is dependent on Internet consumption.
Once you’ve pinpointed the level of Internet consumption of target markets beyond your borders, it is important to research their cultures, traditions, influences and buying habits in order to cultivate your personal brand online. Culturally-appropriate website design and content is not only required for entry into the global marketplace, it is essential for creating a ‘household brand’ that conforms to the unique needs and values of diverse cultures and ethnic groups.
Understanding how your target markets utilize the Internet is the key to successfully communicating your personal brand online. So take the time necessary to conduct your consumption and cultural research, and unlock the secret to connecting with consumers worldwide. 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.