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  • 4 Personal Brand Attributes that Transcend Cultures

    Why is it that some personal brands are universally admired while others are despised? What can we learn from high-profile figures who are able to transcend cultures and garner brand loyalty from New York to Timbuktu?

    So I took a moment to think about the traits of a personal brand that in my mind are embraced anywhere you go. (Disclaimer: These traits are solely based on my personal view and are not grounded in any actual statistical research!)

    1. Heartful 

    Strong personal brands put 100% of their heart into what they do. They literally exude passion in whatever it is that drives them and this is contagious. Loyal brand followers tout these personal brands because they feel this love, passion, and joy themselves. The important thing to note here is that “heartful” personal brands do not brag about who they are or what they do.

    Examples: Martin Luther King, Tony Robbins, Mother Teresa

    2. Mindful 

    A well grounded personal brand is one that most people in any culture can easily relate to. “Mindful” personal brands stay in the moment and actually pull us into this moment with them. They embrace the value of silence and reflection. They focus on those around them and not on themselves. In most cases, such brands only need to smile and we feel at ease.

    Examples: Gandhi, The Dali Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi

    3. Truthful

    Honesty, integrity, and transparency are attributes of personal brands that garner immediate brand loyalty. When a brand promises something and then continually delivers this promise we have immediate trust. We tend to regard truthfulness as a universal human quality. When trust is broken it is the death of any brand, or worse yet when a brand pretends to be one thing and is actually something else we feel betrayed. (Does Lance Armstrong come to mind?)

    Examples: Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Betty Ford

    4.  Successful 

    Yes, success is a relative term and how it is defined across context and cultures varies. Yet however we define it, we naturally respect people who have earned their success through hard work, AND are humble about it. The stories of people who came from modest means, struggled to survive, and changed the world are the stories we want to share with our children. The “successful” personal brand motivates us to go that extra mile to create our own success no matter how great or small.

    Examples: Steve Jobs, Jeremy Lin, Oprah Winfrey

    Heartful, mindful, truthful, and successful are just 4 of many other attributes that define personal brands we respect. I would love to hear your thoughts and example of world-class personal brands. Share your ideas below.

    Author:

    Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer” and is one of only 15 Master level Certified Personal Branding Strategists in the world. He is introducing a leading global personal branding methodology to companies and careerists in Japan and adapting it for the Japanese culture. In a culture where fitting-in is the norm, his mission is to pioneer a ‘cultural shift’ by helping Japanese to stand out in a global environment. His background spans over 21 years in intercultural consulting, international outreach, and global communication coaching.

    avatar

    Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer” and is one of only 15 Master level Certified Personal Branding Strategists in the world. He is introducing a leading global personal branding methodology to companies and careerists in Japan and adapting it for the Japanese culture. In a culture where fitting-in is the norm, his mission is to pioneer a ‘cultural shift’ by helping Japanese to stand out in a global environment. His background spans over 21 years in intercultural consulting, international outreach, and global communication coaching.

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    9 comments on “4 Personal Brand Attributes that Transcend Cultures
    1. avatar
      EXPERT

      Peter,

      You are spot on with your views of culture transcending attributes. As I read through each one, I immediately found myself acknowledging and nodding in agreement. I especially liked how you gave examples of a person who exemplifies each trait.

      One of the great traits I’ve come to admire in a personal brand is that you can’t tell where the brand starts and the person ends. And vice versa for that matter.

      The first person that comes to my mind for kick-butt personal brand is Erika Napoletano of Redhead Writing. While she drops enough f-bombs to light up a small country, she genuine and what you see is what you get. It’s super refreshing in my opinion.

      I’ll be interested to see how her transition to a personal brand from her identity as Redhead Writing goes. Honestly, I think it will be a hit.

      Thanks for the excellent post!

      • avatar
        EXPERT
        Peter says:

        Thanks Colleen. I love what you said about how the sign of a strong brand is when you cannot tell where the “brand” starts and “person” ends and vice versa. In all the examples I gave I fiirmly believe they transcend cultures for exactly the reason you have stated here. Erika is a GREAT example and perhaps even more “relatable” as she is now a renowned public figure. Thanks again Colleen!

    2. avatar
      EXPERT

      Hi Peter,

      WOW! Loved your article and totally relate to it. Peter means ‘ROCK’ or as I like to understand, RELIABLE.

      You already mentioned my top 3 (i.e.) Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King but another that jumps out to me is Richard Branson. Ok he started from an advantageous position but non the less he’s a guy that seems to ‘Just Do It!’ … and I like that trait.

      Peter,

    3. avatar
      EXPERT

      Thanks peter! Great name by the way! Richard Branson certainly is another great example. There are so many we could include for sure. I like to see him as the renegade brand who installs a sense of drive in us. Afterall who else could get away with marketing Virgin cola while driving a tank over cans of Coke!

    4. avatar
      EXPERT

      Great post Peter,
      I am a Personal Brand specialist who is focusing now more and more on Cultural Awareness. This is right on the mark.

      • avatar
        EXPERT

        Hi Dominique. Glad you agree with the attributes here. There are many more we could include but these 4 seem to be ones that are universal in my opinion. Thanks again for the comment.

    5. avatar
      EXPERT

      Dear Peter,

      Thank you for this great post!
      I follow your work for a while now and I agree with you on many points you write. It is especially interesting to read certain posts concerning Japan, like “How to Brand Yourself Like a ‘Harajuku Girl’”, since I lived in Japan for a long time myself.

      In this post, I particularly support the third trait. I consider knowing your truth and figuring out your core is the powerful thing. The core (or identity, spirit) defines and lays the foundation for all further initiatives and engagements. It allows brands to engage with the society authentically, thus creating stronger emotional bonds.

      Thank you!

      • avatar
        EXPERT

        Hi Ellina. Thanks so much for your comment and glad to know you have been ‘following’ my content! Yes, your core identity, spirit, story, character is the foundation for everything, isn’t it. Getting people to tap into this is s challenge anywhere in the world. Thanks again.

    6. avatar
      EXPERT
      Roger Parker says:

      Dear Peter:
      This is a masterful post, one I’m going to quote in my next blog post. Your definition of mindfulness is one of the concisest and most useful I’ve ever read.
      Roger

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