I was shocked and surprised to find out that Amazon have changed my identity to an Aikido instructor and I also find myself to be nearly 20 years younger …. some good things in this then 🙂 … but some less good things if you consider it from the point of view of my "HR brand" …. There has been much debate around how people appear on social media in terms of their Facebook profile, but this is made more difficult if other people misrepresent your HR brand.  Here's how my Amazon.com profile currently looks – the book listings are correct, but I have been "genetically modified" to a younger model:

Here's the Amazon.co.uk listing with the correct profile:

On closer inspection of the Amazon.co.uk page, I found that they had also changed aspects of my profile page, mixing me up with other Peter Cooks around the world. My Twitter feed had been changed from @AcademyOfRock that of Peter G Cook, the well-known Australian "Founder of the Financial Independence Company 'Love Your Business' and Inventiologist". Somewhat sadly, he also looks younger than me !

This is the third time Amazon have actively gone into my author page and made changes to details I uploaded without my knowledge. Imagine that this was your business and the potential damage that could occur to your brand as a result. Previously Amazon have removed books from my profile and added ones about fascinating topics such as tropical fish and skin care. In short, it's what Jeff Bezos of Amazon says "Your Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room". I did not expect this to include the recapture of youth and a new career as an inventiologist! 

In case you are wondering how all of this could happen to your business, let me explain how the process works:

  • An author profile is a 'self service' process i.e. you the author directly upload the details and not Amazon so it's not due to errors with uploading
  • Author profiles are password protected, so other people cannot change your details, so it's not down to mischief (or even mischef) on the part of the other Peter Cooks in the world

So, it cannot happen, but of course it has. I can only assume that Amazon actively go in to modify profiles without any consultation or intelligence.

Transferable Lessons for HR brand managers

  • If others are responsible for your brand, make sure they are competent
  • Don't assume that large companies have got this right when it comes to accuracy of their websites or their IT capabilities. As Jeff Goldblum says in Jurassic Park "Life finds a way", commenting on chaos theory
  • It seems that it's never too late to become an Aikido instructor!