Your brand has a major impact on your ability to make money. You pay more for a BMW than a Toyota. You expect to pay more for a watch made in Switzerland than you do for a watch made in China – even if Swiss engineers took Swiss technology and made everything, the “Made In China” factor would bring less money for the watch.
If you are a Chinese watch maker that wants to make high end watches you have a hard time convincing the world that such a thing exists. The world has decided that any of the billion Chinese that decide to make watches will make cheap watches.
An Indian programmer can charge less for her time than a US passport holding Indian.
Africa has a similar issue. Countries such as Botswana are peaceful, nice places to live. No famine. No wars. Good education systems. Etc. But most of the world consumers see Africa as a whole. The countries are all bundled up in the consumers mind. Botswana, Rwanda, Ethiopia are all the same and they have starving kids with big bellies and famines all the time. If Botswana comes up with a cooler phone than the iPhone than it will have a harder time selling than Apple does with the “Designed in California. Assembled in China.” label.
A genius computer programmer based in Rwanda has a harder time getting hired. Tourism in Afghanistan isn’t going to sell like hot cakes this year – even if you had some exclusive cave resort that was is a super safe neighborhood.
Pakistanis are taught in schools and through their media that “Indians are bad” and Indians are taught that all Pakistanis are trouble makers. Israelis are the “bad guys” to the Arab world and Palestinians and Arabs are trouble makers for the Israelis. Read any Arab newspaper and the negative Israeli brand messages are reinforced to the citizens every day just as the Israeli papers show how “evil” the Arab brand is.
The cost of “brandism” is huge. Instead of providing educational content that helps develop peoples skills and productivity – newspapers focus on wars and other “he said that, she did this” political news. Read an Arab paper and remove the date and time – we still read about the peace process everyday. Not that I’m implying “we forget” about other people – but if you are not going to do something about it and its not in your circle of influence than why not just leave it. Would we not have a better chance of peace if the Arabs started branding Israelis as nice people like everyone else. And the Israelis started branding the more positive Palestinians to help “sell” Palestine to their citizens.
The thing about a brand is that it is a caricature. It elaborates features that might partially be true.
Should we judge a whole country by what the political leaders decide? George W. Bush does not represent every American. Neither does Barack Obama. There are plenty of people within America that hate the policies that their leaders bring out. George and Barack just happened to be better marketers than their competitors and so they got elected and get more “airtime” than Joe – the ordinary American.
Some bureaucrat in the 1940s decided to draw lines on a map to create a new brand called “Pakistan” and a brand called “Israel”. No change management policies were put in place and no brand strategies. Simply “hey, lets create this brand with this flag(logo) and give it a nice tune called a ‘national anthem'”. The bureaucrat that created these brands has impacted millions of people for decades. The bureaucrat forgot to “sell” the brands to the other side. To “sell” Israel to the Arabs. To sell Pakistan to the Indians. They created the product and forgot about the selling. The bureaucrat must have had an engineering degree.
The wars came as the selling didn’t happen. The opposite of the selling happened. The other side are evil. “They” are not like “us”. They shouldn’t be here. We are different. We are cooler.
The best way for a more peaceful world is better education around branding. To “Rebrand India” to the Pakistanis and to “Rebrand Pakistan” to the Indians. To make people aware that you did not choose your nationality, religion, skin color or height. That just because you are black does not mean you have to act and be a certain way. And just because someone is Afghani they can’t be a computer genius creating the next Microsoft.
The internet is one major factor that will help end “brandism”. As you read this, you do not care if I am a midget, black, based in Bolivia or a female. You care about the words you are reading or the content I am producing. The internet makes it easier for me to be me. To not get judged instantly by something physical or something I had no control over – by my accidents of birth.
When I hired my virtual assistant through odesk I looked at her output. I didn’t care about her age. Her gender. If she was obese. If she had zits all over her face. Her nationality. Or any of the other things that in the physical world determine your ability to get a job. I simply hired the best candidate (ability to speak English, passion for the internet, ability to organize herself and ability to work with an amazingly charming and good looking boss) rather than the other things that inevitably we judge people on when hiring in the physical world. In fact, I’ve never even seen my virtual assistant – but she is core to my business. I work with several suppliers and speak to them everyday without knowing a thing about their physical characteristics. Blind guys such as Matt Wadsworth can make over $600,000 per year on the internet, while they would struggle to get a $30,000 job in the real world.
How many kids feel a lot less alone as they can always go online and find a group/niche to relate to? If they are the only black kid in a white school or overweight or whatever – they can always find a home and a niche of people that understand.
The idea of borders disappears on the internet. It is just as cheap for me to communicate to an Argentinian as it is to someone living down the street from me. The Skype call takes the same amount of time and money to make!
Entrepreneurs around the world can start taking advantage of this. They can open up “virtual offices” in places like the United Kingdom (generally a good global brand) while operating from Zimbabwe. Why put yourself at a disadvantage when getting customers?
Countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, Rwanda have a disadvantage in the world as their citizens find it much harder to travel or find jobs in the global economy. The solution for them is to become more entrepreneurial. To work for themselves. And for their citizens to understand branding so that they can help build up their countries brand which is ultimately determined by its people.
Odesk, an online recruitment place where you can hire people from around the world, helps eliminate nationalism – but does not phase it out completely. A Pakistani can hire an Indian or visa versa – whereas in the real world of messy politics they are not even allowed to make calls to each other. It doesn’t get rid of the branding element though. The first thing you see about a coder/designer/freelancer is their nationality when you are looking to hire. I paid $400 for an eBook by a Filipino, $800 from a Pakistani and $2,500 from an Australian. And no the quality from the Australian or the time she took to deliver was not 6 times better or 6 times quicker than the Filipino. She simply had a better “branded” origin. Now though the capitalist within me has learned that I can hire some amazing Nigerian writers to write my eBooks as simply because of their nationality other people are not hiring them.
I happen to be a marketer so I see the world as brands. You are a brand. Palestinians are a brand. Midgets are a brand. Women are a brand. Blacks are a brand. Bosses are a brand. Hindus are a brand.
Palestinians and Pakistanis are two brands that could do with a little cheering up. Or better yet – maybe we could end brandism.
Webpreneur Academy teaches you how to brand and market your ideas. There must be something that YOU have a true passion for. It could be a non-profit or an innovation or your art. Once you can master the art of building brands and using the internet effectively – you can create a global empire. Everything that I’m doing will be taught there – how I used social media to get a 67 % increase in salary last year – during the worst recession ever. How through this blog I have transitioned from being an employee to working for myself. How to create YouTube videos like above using simple tools such as PowerPoint. The web is not about “get rich quick” but it enables you to amplify your personality or your business. The same amount of work is leveraged. Join Webpreneur Academy and you will love your new webpreneurial career. We are so confident that we give you a 90 day no questions asked 100 % money back guarantee.