Personal Branding Across Cultures Blogathon – Day 10 / Malak Oussidhoum
When I first started talking about Personal Branding in Morocco, 3 years ago, the major feedback was: this concept looks amazing but do you think it would work here in Morocco?
I wondered what caused this reaction in a society where people are great followers of north American and French cultures, both countries being the main destination for university education since the 70’s. Proximity to these 2 cultures, along with the Spanish one, impacted their lifestyles in fashion, luxury, musical tendencies and trends in general, but hardly in the behavior and the mentality. People’s perception of modernity was basically upon following the image of developed countries, as long as the signs of modernity were related to image and in adopting the styles; that image was enough for communicating their modernism. So, when adopting a new “trend” which was Personal Branding, what could be the hic point?
Personal Branding? : I love the concept!
At first sight people love the idea to get promoted and be put in the limelight, they love the idea of “uniqueness” in a society where the rule is to be “alike” in order to stand out, they love the idea to be successful based on their merit, they love the idea to be able to manage their careers in a pro-active way, they love the idea of accessing notoriety for personal success.
But there was reluctance in the process itself: “What would people think of me if they ever knew that I am getting help in order to develop my personal brand? (The famous ego …) How would people perceive the fact that I communicate about my person? Wouldn’t that be too much show-off? Plus, I have built a professional image that allows me to be in the future amongst those who have succeeded, even if I am not really fulfilled, and I have to give up on my passions, and my high-hopes are elsewhere…Plus, If I do it I would need the whole society to think like me in order for it to be successful, wouldn’t I? ”
Identity, authenticity and differentiation: Ok let’s do it!
Authenticity, identity and differentiation, those were the words which attracted people who said: Yes, let’s do it!
Knowing that they could assert themselves through their uniqueness, their identity as an individual, and stand out by communicating authentically about their vocation, they attempted the adventure successfully.
Successfully, because despite all the reluctance, when they felt confident, they loved to talk about themselves, telling the story of their achievements. We are in a culture of acknowledgements; so, in order to get it, let it know … authentically. They understood that image is overall a question of communicating authentically about one’s unique promise of value, which is at the end offering to others help and service … isn’t solidarity part of our culture after all? After having grasped all of this, they finally loved to see themselves through differentiation, what their assets were and how they could count on them to walk all the way towards success.
Definitely, in Morocco the shift is in looking at personal image through authentic communication!