How has Personal Branding become easier due to Social Media and Online Tools?

Japan and India; Personal Branding Across Two Cultures

'Japan and India' is a fortnightly column on Personal Branding with two different angles from Peter Sterlacci of Japan  and Dr Amit Nagpal from India on the same topic.

Peter Sterlacci from Japan
Web 2.0 has had an impact on personal branding that Tom Peters could have never imagined when he wrote his groundbreaking 1997 article, The Brand Called You. Social media, blogs, websites, Google, SEO marketing, online groups, discussion forums, YouTube, and the like have caused an evolution in personal branding - dare I say a revolution! People all over the world are now able to jump online, brand themselves, and claim their space in cyberspace. Technology has dramatically expanded the reach and application of personal branding and has made it part of everyday life.

 ‘Digitally Distant’ or ‘Digitally Dissed’
The fact is that we are all being Googled. A few clicks on the keyboard and anyone can see how visible, or invisible, we are on the web. Add to this that companies are now aggressively investing more in social media over traditional recruiting methods. A recent survey by Jobvite found that 89% of US companies use social networks for recruiting, with 64% using two or more social networks to find new talent. In Japan, a survey by Regus found that 67% of Japanese companies agreed that social media is an essential aspect of branding. It is no longer "who you know" that matters, but rather "who knows you." Your online personal brand is important and the difference between what William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson call being ‘digitally distinct’ versus ‘digitally dissed’ can have dramatic consequences in a competitive job market.

Jorgen Sunderberg's recent post on TNW outlined 14 must-haves for your online personal brand building toolkit including Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles, niche-based social sites, social media analytics like Klout, Google alerts, etc. Using such tools will certainly expand your online reputation and help to increase your visibility.

Online Mind-Set Shift Needed in Japan
In Japan most of these 'must-have' tools, however, present a cultural challenge. Even though Japan is considered one of the most wired countries, the Japanese are not as quick to jump online and brand themselves as the online community has traditionally valued anonymity. Tokyo based MMD Laboratory surveyed 2,130 Japanese mobile web users and found that 89% were reluctant to disclose their real names on the web. Clearly this poses a challenge for online personal branding as Japanese users prefer to be invisible.

An online usage mind-set shift is needed in Japan before Japanese will jump on the online personal branding bandwagon. reported that Japanese tend to spend more time online in the 'interest graph' (looking for information) rather than 'social graph' (interacting with others or promoting themselves). Perhaps this explains why Japanese internet users spend the most time visiting blogs worldwide, as reported in ComScore's August press release.

Brief Profile

Peter Sterlacci has handled many senior roles including Director-International Outreach at San Jose State University and corporate training before venturing out into Personal Branding in Japan. He specialises in Intercultural Personal Branding and his philosophy is "Empowering you to Believe, Become and Be your Brand"

To know more:-

Dr Amit Nagpal from India

"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."
Andy Warhol

The concept of Personal Branding was introduced by Tom Peters way back in 1997,  but it was William Arruda who popularized the concept all over the world starting in 2001.  Unfortunately offline personal branding was only suitable for the upper class / richer countries. If Offline branding through TV and other mass media was too expensive, offline branding through tools like books was too time consuming.

The popularity of social media and networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Youtube and Linkedin in the past few years has brought the concept of personal branding to the developing countries and made it affordable for the middle class also to build personal brands. Let us look at some of the key features of these tools which make it easy to build personal brands.
·    User-friendliness of computers and internet has encouraged even techno phobic people to adopt internet and you can even find 75 year olds on Facebook etc.
·    Most of these tools (basic versions) are free and anyone can make a Facebook Page, a Blog or create a Linkedin or Twitter account.
·    New free online tools are coming up every day and they include sites like, Referral Key, Visual CV and so on.
·    Several tools are available to share your knowledge and build your brand as a domain expert including Linkedin groups, Quora, forums and so on.
·    The basic versions are free and premium versions with extra features can be utilized if you find them worth the money.
·    Newer free services are available like media monitoring from which monitors your online coverage besides Google alerts of course.
·    More and more niche sites are coming up, such as ecademy for networking of entrepreneurs.
·    Google+‘s idea of segregating what you share with friends, family and professional relationships is also wonderful and removes the biggest weakness of social media.

Future will be even more exciting
  •  In future TV will get completely integrated with internet (networked television) and those who are experts in online marketing will receive a huge benefit in this new world.
  • The entry of Google in social media will change the game forever. Google’s search engine powers plus plus Google + can make it a giant like Microsoft in the internet arena. If search engines start giving real time results from Google+, Facebook and Twitter, it will be a giant leap. 

In India, Personal Branding as a structured industry is yet to arrive though many people at senior level have started working on their personal brands, through their  personal portals and social media, taking the help of SEO and website (building) companies. There is no resistance as such to personal branding, though emergence of Personal Branding Consultants in all parts of the country is yet to happen.

So even if you are a horse who does not believe in the rat race, get ready to jump on the social and new media bandwagon and build a powerful brand for yourself in the process.

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Brief Profile
Dr Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant based in New Delhi, India. He specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is "Take Charge of your Life and your Brand"

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