Inside Google Marketing: Why we’re teaching people how to self-promote

Inside Google Marketing: Why we’re teaching people how to self-promote

Published
March 2019

In almost every culture, kids — but especially girls — are taught that it’s not polite to talk about one’s achievements. In Japan, for example, the expression “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down” teaches children not to draw attention to themselves. Thousands of miles away in the U.K., kids learn that “the whale that spouts gets harpooned.” Is it any wonder that, by the time we enter the workforce, we’ve internalized the idea that we’ll be penalized if we tout our accomplishments?

But if you’re not comfortable talking about your achievements, how will anyone know about them? Researchers have found that people who feel uncomfortable self-promoting are likely to fall behind their more vocal peers. That’s why Anna Vainer, a marketer in London’s Google office, decided to launch #IamRemarkable with a former colleague, Anna Zapesochini.

“It’s a workshop that empowers women and under-represented groups to practice the skills of self-promotion and celebrate their success, both professionally and personally,” Vainer said.

Watch Vainer explain how she turned her side project into a global movement that has helped 20,000 people across 50 countries share exactly why they’re remarkable.

Learn more about #IamRemarkable here.

0:01

A lot of women grow up

0:03

hearing that you shouldn't brag.

0:04

It's not nice.

0:05

It's not modest.

0:08

But actually, if you're stating facts, it's not bragging.

0:10

It's just telling the truth.

0:13

My name is Anna Vainer, and I founded

0:16

the #IamRemarkable initiative.

0:17

#IamRemarkable is a workshop that

0:20

empowers women and underrepresented groups

0:23

to practice the skills of self-promotion

0:26

and celebrate their success, both professionally

0:27

and personally.

0:28

In the beginning of the workshop,

0:32

we asked the participants to actually take a piece of paper

0:34

and write down what makes them remarkable.

0:36

And then we say, "Okay, now you need

0:39

to stand in front of the room and read it out loud."

0:40

And I think that’s the moment where

0:44

you hear [GASPING] like the air is being sucked from the room.

0:47

It's my favorite moment of the workshop.

0:51

And then you see people go up, and they're quite not sure,

0:54

but they read it, and then people clap.

0:56

And as the time moves on, you see that people

0:57

open up more and more.

0:59

I think what's really exciting is that people feel

1:01

really proud about themselves.

1:04

75% of people said that the workshop

01:06

boosted their confidence.

1:09

78% of people said that it helped

1:11

them portray their self-promotion skills

1:14

at their job.

1:17

There is a very uncomfortable stat

1:19

that shows that both men and women don't like

1:21

women who promote themselves.

1:23

There is sometimes backlash for people

1:25

who state their achievements.

1:27

But actually, we see that people who

1:28

don't practice self-promotion, who

1:30

don't share their accomplishments,

1:31

are left behind.

1:34

We see, from research, companies that

1:37

invest in diversity, that have women on their leadership

1:40

board, actually make more money.

1:43

If you're a business leader, and if your team doesn't represent

1:44

the world out there, you probably

1:46

need to change your team.

1:47

Be open to criticism.

1:49

Be open to different ideas.

1:51

Make sure you have at least that one

1:54

person in the room that would challenge any decision that's

1:55

being made.

1:58

When we bring #IamRemarkable to teams within Google

2:00

and companies outside Google, it really

2:01

helps people understand that they

2:03

need to rethink the way they do promotions,

2:06

and the way that they give pay raises,

2:07

and the way that they hire.

2:09

But it's really the understanding

2:12

that diversity matters, and it helps you make better business

2:14

decisions.

How brands can think beyond International Women’s Day