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Salenbacher, born in 1970, began his career as an art director in Munich, Germany after studying design in Freiburg.
While working in advertising he took a Public Relations diploma at the Bayerische Akademie der Werbung (BAW) in Munich. In the years that followed he travelled the world, working in design, marketing and communications. His experience in positioning local and world brands, personalities and even nations is unique. 

Clients have included Munich Aids Help Charity and Bayer Healthcare, Coca-Cola, Durex play, Levi’s, Lego, Louis Vuitton, Mattel, Novartis, adidas international, Roca, Swatch and Vittel. 

He has had the opportunity to work on marketing and branding strategies for, among others, Michael Ballack, Muhammad Ali and Paolo Coelho and for the Kingdom of Bhutan. 

His awards include the red dot award, the New York Festival, the IPA Best of Health and the Art Directors’ Club.

His Creative Personal Branding workshops were born after his work moved towards innovation and the creative economy. In 1997 he co-founded the creative agency D-Office, taking the role of Managing Director. In 2002 he was appointed Director of Marketing for The Performers (Omnicom Group), a leading agency for celebrities, sponsorship and venues. In 2005, after finishing an MBA at EADA Business School in Barcelona, he joined Global Healthcare as Director of Strategy. 

Since 2006 he has been teaching Communication Strategy and International Marketing Strategy at IED Barcelona where he also facilitates his CPB-Workshops in various Masters, among them Master in Design Management, Master in Fashion and Master in Graphic Design.

In 2011 he was appointed Academic Dean of IED, Istituto Europeo di Design Barcelona, where he focused on Design Management and Business Design to foster change in Design Education.

Currently he continues to teach Creative Personal Branding in Barcelona (IED), Luzern (HSLU), and Stockholm (Hyper Island) and facilitates Business Design Thinking in Organisations worldwide.



Yorokobu, Spain

Three years ago, the Financial Times published a study which showed that only 9% of professionals have a job in line with their personalities. “What are the other 91% doing?” was the question raised by Jurgen Salenbacher, professional coach and professor at IED Barcelona.

Salenbacher is the author of “Creative Personal Branding”, a book about the necessity to deepen our personal know-how in order to take part in the new creative economy. “It doesn’t matter if you are a graphic designer, journalist, entrepreneur or brand manager. We all have to combine logic and magic, creativity and business in order to develop our own creative leadership”

What is the difference between personal branding and creative personal branding?
The main difference is that with creative personal branding, we have another dimension: creativity, crucial in today’s economy. Creativity and creative thinking are necessary to create and identify opportunities in such a competitive environment. Personal branding presents yourself as a product, while at the end of the process of creative personal branding you have consciously defined your products, and this is a great difference. You are not a product, but you can offer products. For this reason it’s better knowing what these products are.

Personal branding may lead us to being superficial? Isn’t being ourselves the best brand?
Creative personal branding is a methodology, and in the process you answer three main questions: Where do I go? Why? and With whom? These seem simple questions, but believe me, I can ensure you that they aren’t easy at all. On the contrary, here we focus on creative leadership -a very important aspect in a creativity-based economy. Each one of us has to know where we’re going, a lot of people already know, while others don’t. As a study published by the Financial Times showed three years ago, only 9% of professionals in Europe have a job in line with their personality. This made me think “What are the other 91% doing?” If you want to understand yourself and understand others, you always have to keep in mind your motivation as well as the one of others. This brings us to the last question: With whom? Nowadays working in a team is very important. Therefore, if you don’t know yourself and you’re not sure of where you’re going or what your motivation is, how do you expect to work in a team, to be part of a team, or to lead a team?

What does personal branding have to do with the creative economy?
We are currently facing a transformation in today’s economy. This results in a high number of self-employed professionals on one hand, and businesses trying to adapt their strategies to this new reality on the other. Developing new ideas is basic, and it’s the easiest part of the process.

Implementing ideas however, is much more complicated. Working in groups, in distance, with other cultures while always staying true to your own identity is a challenge. And if you see the statistics on the future of labor given by the European Union or the United Nations, it’s clear that we are becoming more autonomous which leads to higher entrepreneurship, where creativity and communication are crucial.

Sometimes personal branding is associated with deceitful salesmen. What would you say to some of those skeptical people to convince them that this isn’t true?
I believe we are already on a new level. Personal branding represents the old economy, the one of middlemen and easy-gained money. Creative personal branding is for the new economy, for those who work in the creative economy and creative industries.There’s already a lot entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses trying to create and implement new products and services, with new great customer experiences, in order to gain trust and loyalty. It doesn’t matter if you’re an industrial designer, a graphic designer, a writer, journalist, blogger, doctor, professor or lawyer. You must have substance, you have to be an expert. This defines your products. You also must have style, the know-how and understanding the power of design thinking. You must have conviction, you must know your values in order to take decisions on an everyday-basis. You must be elegant, being able to listen and communicate with diverse people.

Niels Bohr, danish physician (Nobel prize winner), once said that in order to be an expert, one must have committed every possible mistake in at least one area. In this way you become an expert, someone with substance. The problem however, is that a lot of people are afraid of committing mistakes. But mistakes are part of the creative economy. It’s a moment in which investigation and analysis become know-how, and this know-how can be transformed into money. This process is called innovation. We are already facing the disappearance of deceitful salesmen, while on the other hand, entrepreneurs and freelancers are increasing. They are people who have to think about what their products are in order to be competitive in an ever-changing market, and how to differentiate, communicate and connect them to their peers. Believe me, each one of them is working hard, and investing a lot of their time in finding their own space, in developing their own competences, and in trying to adapt to a market which is always more international. There are many opportunities, but you have to be prepared.

Why is it important that people work out their own personal brands?
As I said before, the topic of personal brand is the consequence of the whole process, it’s the last step. Branding can’t do miracles. In the past I have had the chance to work with global brands as well as international and local. The question is always the same: How should a brand behave? Well, it’s easy. It has to do all that it said it would, this generates trust and it is the base for your future. Nothing more, nothing less. Great marketers know that. The process of creative personal branding is built upon 6 steps. Reflect, reframe, create, grow, differentiate and go. The personal brand comes in the last step, “go”. But without the prior steps, and without the understanding and knowledge of the economy and where its industries are headed, it means you don’t know what the new required competences are, and therefore your personal brand is completely useless. The European Committee already defined the 8 key competences for the future, and I bet that a lot of people still don’t know what they are.

What is the main premise of your book «Creative Personal Branding»?
Making you reflect, think and draw your own conclusions within your reality. It is mainly addressed to two targets. One who is always on the go, with busy schedules who read the book rapidly -it is also for them that the book features visually pleasing graphics transmitting key concepts regarding the creative economy, creative thinking and personal branding within a social media environment. The other target is the one who reads between the lines, who utilizes the space we created within the book, to reply to my questions or to take notes, converting the book into something very personal.

Apart from being a university professor you are also a professional coach. Which is the primary problem you commonly find between your clients currently? Technological saturation? Productivity issues? What solutions do you propose?
There is a lot of people who are understanding that our economy is undergoing a fundamental transition. They are currently in process of reflecting and reframing their professional lives. No matter if they are employees working for a company, or self- employed entrepreneurs.