Personal Branding Across Cultures Blogathon – Day 1 / Hank Chin:
I do believe history and events will affect people’s thinking, intangibly and naturally influencing individuals to do personal branding. Thus, let me introduce Taiwan briefly, which also highly relates to the following content.
Taiwan, NOT Thailand, is a small island next to China. As a Taiwanese, honestly speaking, we have complicated emotion with China and Japan because we belonged to China before 1895 and then Japanese colonized Taiwan until 1945.
Over 1960-1990, Taiwan’s economy experienced strong economic growth, taking us from an undeveloped country to a developing one, and until now, we are famous for the electronics industry, like HTC, ACER, ASUS, CHIMEI, etc., entering a developed country, too.
We have our own democratic government now, but are usually absent in some important international organizations or conferences, like United Nations, WHO, etc. due to the sovereignty issue between Taiwan and China.
The above facts and emotion result in three specific and important elements that will influence personal branding thinking. If you learn and master them, you can effectively enhance and spread your brand sooner than expected.
From 2012, if you paid attention to some Chinese celebrities, especially “Taiwanese,” you will definitely notice the first element from their public speaking, which I call “Tie-to-Taiwan.”
Taiwan is a small island that has little awareness and visibility worldwide because of ongoing tension with China. With China growing stronger, more and more people living in Taiwan feel nervous and care about their identity more than before─being a Taiwanese.
Thus, you can notice when Ang Lee and Jeremy Lin said they can’t be so successful without Taiwan or they love Taiwan so much, their news and speaking will be fast spread here, effectively catching the front page of major newspapers and TVs for a couple of days, strengthening their personal brand.
From my observation, current Taiwanese needs a hero to admire, and thus adding the “tie-to-Taiwan” element into your personal branding will give you a strong leg up in emotion.
Do you know who donated the most money to aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 3/11/11?
Yes, Taiwan. Why?
Affiliation is of course one of the powerful factors. But, I feel most Taiwanese naturally tend to stand up for the weak and sympathize the poor.
We want to help the weak and see them grow to strive for success, perhaps because we’ve always been bashed internationally all the time.
Consequently, this inborn characteristic has us prefer and easily relate to an underdog story, especially from a super underdog to a star, just like Jeremy Lin, “Linsanity.” Ang Lee has the same story as well, from a stay-at-home director and father, counting on his wife as a breadwinner, to a famous director internationally.
We like a story that people start from nothing and then get recognized by an unexpected opportunity and never-give-up spirit.
Therefore, when you seize a chance to tell a story to enhance your personal brand, you should remind yourself of the underdog point and combine this into some plots, which will attract the attention of many Taiwanese.
3. Digital island
As I mentioned, Taiwan is renowned for her electronics industry, backed up by the convenient 3G and wireless networks.
Taiwan has the highest average amounts of cell phones per person. In 2011, the penetration rate of mobile phones in Taiwan was 120%, meaning everyone has 1.2 mobile phones, and in 2015, the estimated penetration rate of smart phones will be 56.8%, quite high.
So, you can expect over half of Taiwanese will check your personal brand and read your brand story by mobile phones, the younger, the more likely.
This is a trend that we can not resist but only tap into, so you should react to this phenomenon and start to build your personal brand online. Now, building a blog/website will be still your priority since LinkedIn in Taiwan is not as popular as that in the West.
As Taiwan owns the highest mobile phone penetration rate worldwide, it makes perfect sense to build your personal brand in a digital way, which is very efficient and widespread. Your readers can catch your news anytime and anywhere.
Lastly, Taiwan is an island filled with talented and hard-working people who want to build their personal brands in their professional areas or lives. The three elements tie-to-Taiwan, underdog story, and digital island are something you should always keep in mind when doing personal branding here.
I believe when you understand your history and culture more, your personal branding skill will soon be upgraded from the “Minor League” to the “Major League.”
By the way, I welcome you to visit Taiwan!