The U.S. used to stand for “no one else matters but US.” Then came Bollywood, and its 1.2 billion audience members, including pretty much the best engineers in the world.
And then came Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and its audience of 1.3 billion consumers of concrete and Hong Kong. Oh, and Kate Beckinsale was crowned the sexiest woman in the world, per Esquire. ScarJo and Megan, you have your place, but audiences around the world, heck even here, find celebrities more desirable if their personal brands are born outside the US.
Your earning power and net worth are dependent on seeing yourself as employable by anyone, anywhere. Your
personal brand must embrace that you are a world citizen, not because it’s the polite thing to be or because global warming is melting another continent’s ice caps and you’ll miss out on seeing polar bears.
Right now, your best job may be with a multinational not based in the US, a US company that is globally oriented or any business where you’re not just serving the locals. Unless your personal brand is to intentionally cater to the locals, like running a neighborhood diner, which is incredibly cool and could totally rock a gentrifying couple of blocks. Of course, if your personal brand is entrepreneurial then you might be thinking about franchising your concept, so remember Subway has more overseas stores than domestic.
Global thinking isn’t just for brands like Coke, Nike and Disneyland anymore. Increasingly, it’s for your personal brand and mine. My cousin Allan started out running a classic Mustang parts business in Long Beach. His personal brand was big with the membership of a few local Mustang car clubs and the classic car geeks at swap meets. Five years later, he makes most of his money shipping cars overseas. He’s built his personal brand by being a rock solid supplier of cherry condition cars to big money bidders in Australia, New Zealand, the EU, the UAE and of course, Asia.
So citizens of the US, make your personal brand global friendly. Read a business etiquette book that tells you
the rules in the places where you won’t find familiar faces. Like how you should show up on time to German meetings but stay calm when you’re the only one in the conference room in Rio and it’s two hours later than, oh let’s just say you anticipated. If you had the oil, fresh water and Olympics that Brazil has, you might be more casual than concerned when the US pays you a call.
Here’s what you do now
- Pick a daily newspaper website from 5 nations – only one of them from your home country. Read at least the headlines. Yes – most of them are translated into English (we still are the language of air traffic control).
- Look for your passport, and if it’s time to renew it, take a photo that makes you look like a trustworthy business person, and not like you at 19, needing a haircut and living on Ramen noodles.
- Pick 3 multinational companies to follow online, so you can see what it’s like to be part of the whole world – and not think you are the whole world.
About Nance: Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.