Dealing with Austerity – Personal Branding: the Next Frontier? – Reflections – Part 1

English: Various Euro bills.

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Der Spiegel
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United Kingdom
Image by stumayhew via Flickr

I have recently been visiting Spain and will cover my personal reflections on Spain in a future blog. Whilst in Spain, I soon got into the habit of having dinner at 1030 PM and taking a siesta when the opportunity presented. After a siesta one day, I borrowed a laptop and for some reason googled my own name “alf oldman” and as always was amazed by the thousands of hits. I soon became captivated by this kaleidoscope of twenty years of data about myself, all in the public domain. I remembered that twenty years early, I had consciously set out to build a personal brand called “alf oldman“. In a future blog I shall share my story, including:

  • Reaching and retaining number one status on Google
  • Becoming number one specialist on LinkedIn
  • Ranking number one on Twitter in a specialist area

This week a number of news stories made me reflect quite deeply on the current state of affairs in the World. I started to question whether there was a case for more personal branding to counter ever-increasing cancer of personal commodification that seemed to be enveloping society.

Firstly let me summarize the news stories that set the backdrop for my melancholy:

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have recently written about:

Given so much bad news, despair, gloom and promise of further austerity, it is hard to believe that policy makers and their leaders will have the statesmanship to provide effective leadership out of the crisis. Sadly, democracies are being subordinated and bureaucrats are now running countries, all at the behest of a powerful elite, who wish to stamp their own branding with increasing forcefulness and to marginalise those that stand in their way.

Against this background, individuals face agonizing challenges, uncertainties and increasing risk. This includes youth unemployment and older workers displaced by technology or offshoring. Public sector workers are being targetted and family owned businesses are being told that they do not know how to run their businesses in the national interest. Social mobility and a post-war belief in education is being challenged like never before. Minorities with privileged education and their privileged networks will perhaps be spared some of the worst of the pain.

The Public Sector and large corporates are increasingly treating individuals as commodities. Individuals face an agonizing choice between being “a commodity” or an “individual” based on personal branding. In the field of interim management, many traditional interims managers are either giving up or becoming contractors.

Personally, I have always been a passionate fan of Dale Carnegie, and Positive Thinking. There is now a huge “self-help” industry and advice abounds on personal marketing. Personal branding is a specialized type of personal marketing. The concept of personal branding was probably first introduced by management geru Tom Peters.