My friend and fellow Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist Walter Akana recently posed this question on his blog:
Is the concept of personal branding at risk of ‘jumping the shark?’
‘Jumping the shark’ is a Hollywood phrase coined for the moment when people realize a television program has outlived its appeal. The phrase can be applied to a wide variety of situations — basically any situation, person, or movement that has taken a turn for the worse and is not redeemable.
Has Personal Branding Run It’s Course?
Can we say that ‘personal branding’ has run its course? To me it really comes down to the term being misused or misunderstood around the world. Often attaching the word ‘branding’ to the word ‘personal’ is the root cause of much of the criticisms I have come across.
I was intrigued by the use (or misuse) of personal branding around the world and wanted to explore this deeper. As a personal branding strategist in Japan I have spent the past 3 years trying to bring personal branding into the Japanese culture. It has been a challenge to say the least. I needed to know if others were experiencing challenges as well. Hence, the motivation to recruit a handful of experts to analyze the role of personal branding in different cultures.
At the end of the day personal branding was born as a ‘western’ concept. The culture in the US, for example, empowers individuals to use personal branding in the way it was meant to be used – understand what is authentic, differentiating, and compelling about you and consistently apply this to your life.
Can Personal Branding Work in Other Cultures?
I think this is a valid question. After all, people are people and we all have a unique value we bring to the world. Don’t we? But, do deeply rooted cultural values and expectations create barriers that prevent personal branding from being embraced around the world?
Walter Akana’s question above forces use to remember that we don’t BUILD a personal brand. This idea of building suggests that we are creating something – perhaps an image. Walter says, “a personal brand is a reputation. It’s not something your create. It’s something you earn’. Meg Guiseppi also points out that “people are NOT brands, but we ALL have a personal brand.”
Personal Branding Works Around the World
The 18 contributors to this eBook are experts within the cultures and countries they represent. They are all pioneers in helping true personal branding grow around the world, regardless of the challenges they face. In the following 18 articles you will learn about these challenges including:
- The “Crab mentality” in the Philippines. Out of jealousy or insecurity, success is often looked down upon as being elite and snobbish.
- “Jante’s Law” in Sweden. This un-writtten law deeply rooted in Swedish and Scandinavian cultures says, “don’t think your are better than anyone else.”
Yes, in every culture represented barriers to personal branding exist in varying degrees. Yet in all 18 cultures the seeds for personal branding have been planted and have taken root – deeper in some for sure! What I have learned from curating these 18 articles is simply this: Personal branding has not run its course. Far from it.
As personal branding specialists it is now our duty to nurture these personal branding seeds using whatever means necessary to enable them to grow and prosper in our respective cultures. If not, personal branding just might ‘jump the shark.’
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