Continuing the discussion we began last time, I proposed that we in the United States rethink “personal branding”, a hot buzz word in career guidance circles. The term is becoming common coin in linguistic currency and already being devalued. Thus begins another “research trip” as we attempt to unpack this concept. This is the premise I am working from:
Corporations are not human beings, but legal economic entities (do you get this, Supreme Court?). They have names.
Corporations give the products they offer for sale in the marketplace a “brand name”; a word that distinguishes one product from another; an ID tag.
Human beings are given names; words that distinguishes one human from another; an ID tag.
People have names. Products have brand-names.
People are human beings. Products are things.
There is an essential “wrong-ness” in the idea of “marketing” a human being like a product. Marketing a human being like a product slides into “object-fying” that person–handling a person in thought just like a hair brush…something to be used…something having usefulness/utility until it is worn out, outdated, or tired-of. The thought process about the person devolves into,
“What can he/she/it do for me?”; “Why this one/person/candidate, and not that one?”
It gets worse. The language of comparison shopping gets applied in the thought process:
“If I get/buy/hire this one vs. that one,
- How long will it last? will I have to replace it soon?
- is it the best I can get for my money? What about return over investment?
- is it high quality? Will it add to my good reputation with others?
- can I get testimonials from satisfied customers about it?”