Barthel – A seahorse from the 80s

1981 › Erlangen › Frankonia › Media › Cologne › Baden-Wuerttemberg › Industry › Brand › Communication › World Traveler › Scuba Diver › Pirate › Leader › Trainer › Coach › Consultant › Do-Gooder

My friends call me by my last name, Barthel. It just happened that way – I suspect because Michael is too common a name. So I got my brand name relatively early after my parents brought me onto the market on July 23, 1981 as the twin brother of my sister Nadine. In Erlangen.

The balance from my Franconian training center: in terms of school I made it up to the technical diploma with a focus on business administration, journalistically to the freelance work with the »Nürnberger Zeitung« in the sports department and in terms of sport to the fan of 1. FC Nürnberg and the proud bearer of a seahorse badge. So basically my story began.

During this time I learned independence and ambition from my parents. From my twin sister, how great it is to have a buddy on the same wavelength right from the start.


In 2001 I came to the daily newspaper in Baden-Wuerttemberg via the Air Force Press Information Center in Cologne. At 21, I had achieved my professional goal of becoming an editor. End of the horizon? Not at all, I did a distance learning course (sports marketing) in Düsseldorf and then combined my core capabilities: communication and marketing.

So in 2007 I switched to industry and at the age of 26 I took on direct personnel and budget responsibility for the first time. At an automotive supplier, I set up the global marketing communication department and also organized a shared service center in Romania. Then I gained experience as the head of marketing communication DACH for a building materials company before I again took on a global role in a division for a US company in mechanical and plant engineering.

My most important lesson from this time: Not being a noname means being a pirate. Not getting swallowed up by the mainstream is hard work. Teamwork that goes far beyond the professional.

What sounds so smoothly took a lot of energy: I moved a lot to be able to do what I enjoy. But I also had to reintegrate myself regularly as a result. I have experienced many changes and initiated them myself. But I also had to deal with a lot of setbacks and disappointments – not just when looking for a job.

All of this changed my perspective. My love of traveling, of people and cultures from all over the world, then opened up horizons. I was fortunate that I was able to discover a lot of the world, both privately and professionally. My most impressive journey? In 2005, as an intern in Sri Lanka, I experienced the consequences of the tsunami first hand – and the meaning of help. This gave rise to the first ideas for my book »It’s a BOJ – About People and Brands«, published 13 years later in 2018 (in German only).

On my travels and stations, I got to know and love people and brands in all their diversity. I first encountered one of the greatest treasures in 2012; off Malapascua in the Philippines. A seahorse. That’s how I fell in love with scuba diving. Going deeper sharpens the senses. And it makes you weightless. And those who find out for themselves what it is like to go deeper will in the end even know what wonderful creatures sharks are …

That is exactly why my journey continues.

Do you want the digital brand profile from the 80s? On my social media profiles you can find more about my vita and the individual stations. Or just talk to me:

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