The world is flat, as stated by Thomas Friedman. What Friedman means by flat is connected. Today, this trend goes even further. The lowering of political barriers accompanying with digital technology revolution has made us easily connected with billions of people across the planet.
Think and Act with Global Vision
In the wake of the dramatic changing situation, we increasingly think or do things with a global vision no matter where we are. Last year, I travelled to a small village in the central part of China, which is well known for its world-class Keemun Black Tea. The tea farmers use Alibaba, China’s e-commerce giant, as a platform to promote their brand and sell their products globally. I was amazed at how people could be connected to the world even in this small town. Also, I feel more impressed by their sense of building a global brand for their products via e-commerce.
Like Chinese tea farmers, more and more people have gained a greater awareness of the desire for global branding. Moreover, the exponential advance of digital technology has expanded the definition of global branding from business to self-promotion. In other words, promoting your own to a globally recognized and identified brand as the way businesses do.
Brand Yourself as Big Brands Do
However, it raises a question “why do we have to be a brand the way that IPhone is a brand?” Before jumping to the conclusion, think about it, in a digitalized era, what is the first thing that the majority of people will do when considering you for a job or for business engagement? Surveys from multiple sources revealed that almost 70% of Internet users rely exclusively on online search while looking for information about persons and companies. And then think about what will come out when people type your name into Google search? Some nonsense information or well organized personal profile? Which one do you expect?
More importantly, great brands not only make themselves stand out of a crowd, but also make everyone identify with their mottos, visions and values. That’s why big business brands thrive all over the world, because they are unique and trustworthy. This is also the case with your personal brand.
Given this, the answer is beyond any doubt that it’s a great necessity to have and manage an outstanding online identity. That could be something you can do by creating your own content.
Enhance Personal Soft Power
Since developing a brand of your own has become increasingly critical in today’s global context, what should personal global brand look like? Professor Joseph Nye once argued that soft power plays an important role for promoting national image. I would like to apply some of his theories on soft power to define a globally personal brand.
A defining feature of soft power is non-coercion, namely the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. The soft power of your personal brand is that you can present a really coherent, cohesive picture of yourself as a knowledgeable professional, a global thinker and an internationalist, which means you must show you have the skills and global awareness needed to succeed globally.
Watch Out for the Cost and Risk
Social media is one of the self-branding essentials by using the cheap and efficient way to address your target group. However, one thing you need to be careful of is your credibility. As stated by Joseph Nye, credibility is the scarcest resource during the Information Age. How to make audiences trust you is a critical task. Thus, don’t let the bad press and negative information on social media damage your image, which will have a long lasting and a far reaching impact. The other thing is that you need to sacrifice part of your privacy as exchange for global visibility and publicity.
On the whole, in spite of its downsides, self-branding on a global-reaching platform does more good than harm. We just need to be smart and cautious.