What the CEO can learn from the shoemaker


Dusseldorf Man is not a product. This is a wisdom that can not be pronounced enough in times when self-marketing through social media has a socially unprecedented social significance. In fact, the term brand has long ceased to apply exclusively to businesses, services and physically produced goods.

People too can be brands, personality brands. Personal branding is what professionals call it. Advertisers and marketers have discovered it as a topic, in sports sponsorship, this can be observed well when athletes in the focus of a campaign back instead of entire clubs. Now, not every person is a Cristiano Ronaldo, who proves the value of “achievement will” again and again. Nevertheless, such examples can be used to deduce a great deal for everyday careers – explain the marketing experts Christopher Spall and Holger J. Schmidt.

“Personal Branding – What makes people strong brands” is the name of the author's joint first work. Spall is the founder and managing director of the Nuremberg brand consultancy “Spall.macht.Marke”, Schmidt Professor of Marketing at the University of Koblenz. The result is a guide for private labels and those who want to become one.

Based on in-depth substructure and clever conversations, Spall and Schmidt set a new standard in people's branding, picking up newcomers and drawing in the advanced. The talks are conducted with consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs. Even the political brand Wolfgang Bosbach has a lot to say and may, quite entertaining, anecdotes, mistakes and experience in the well-balanced overall mix sprinkle. It is the clear structure as a textbook, as a guide, which makes the book easily digestible despite much content.

The authors themselves always give insight into their own professional practice, and above all, the genesis of their theses. The chapters build on each other, are always in back reference. The Scheme: The authors outline the expectation, give the theoretical foundation for each point and underpin it with practical examples. At the end of each chapter and also of the book itself, the quintessence is summarized and translated into concrete action steps, checklists and questionnaires.

Christopher Spall, Holger J. Schmidt: Personal Branding – What makes people strong brands
Springer Gabler
273 pages
39.99 euros
ISBN: 9783658237400

In some places, the question arises: Why am I reading this now? The addressees range from employees to the self-employed to the senior manager. So what can the CEO learn from the shoemaker Kirstin Hennemann, who is the guiding thread of the book as a practical example? The authors avoid the error of a knowledge show and bring their own conversations, résumés and explanations again and again to the ground.

The relevance of the personality brand is explained in the preface Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges. The authors themselves are lacking in appreciation for some prototypical situations, such as the blogger, who is waiting in vain for the breakthrough, or the volunteer who throws the football club in his spare time but is never elected to the board.

Of course, this mainly lures the professional frustrated and aims at the desire for change. Those who are satisfied with themselves in all respects, but also hardly get a guide how the own personality brand can be made to shine. The clou is that personal branding does not become a self-optimizing primer for careerists.

No matter what career level, regardless of age and income, the book aims to bring out the strengths of one's personality – not to change it. No matter, if somebody manufactures shoes in Berlin, professional shoes for Juventus Turin, in Herzogenaurach selling shoes on a large scale or training in Manchester millionaire shoe wearers: The personal success is based on authenticity, so the shortened core thesis of the authors.

“What do you stand for?” Is the key question. Of course, the authors can not answer that blanket. But they provide what is currently the most capable tool to find the answer.

More: Why a strong personality brand pays on the corporate brand, Christopher Spall and Holger J. Schmidt explain in an interview.

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