Building Your Personal Brand – The 3 C’s

December 5, 2018

By Priya Sarkar with K S Ramanan


You have begun well on building your personal brand. In previous articles, we covered The 3 W’s: What, Why, Watch; The 3 R’s: Reality Check, Roadmap, References; The 3 P’s: Preparation, Positioning, Persona.

So, in summary, you would have figured why you need to build your brand, and what you need to do towards this. You then did a check on your reality versus aspirations and how to create a roadmap for your journey, leveraging the power of references. We followed by covering the key aspects of preparation and positioning towards building your brand persona.

In this article, we move to understand how you use communication towards underscoring your competency and building the necessary credibility for your brand…. and being creative, too!

Communication: communication and communication!!

If you believe that actions speak louder than words, the balance moves a tad when building your brand! Sure, actions are your brand’s base, but communication is that key pillar, and we can’t emphasize it enough! Communication is arguably the most visible element of your brand persona.’

a) Verbal communication: More often than not, this will be the most striking facet of your personality. What you say is as important as how you say it. And while this will be relevant to your area of work and the brand you want to project, there are a few things that will stand any test, irrespective. Correctly spoken language (not necessarily high-flown!), polite words (yes, P’s and Q’s count, as do swear words take away), clear enunciation, well-articulated thoughts, and enough spaces to allow others to get their words in. Some more things play in – look out for those ‘signature’ or habitual words or catchphrases, such as ‘you know’, ‘so on and so forth’, ‘etcetera’ that go towards caricaturizing you. Overuse of jargons and acronyms is another. Many people opt for professional coaching to help their verbal communication; you are the best person to assess your need for this.

b) Written communication: If you are required to write (even emails and simple notes) in the course of your work, ensure it is grammatically correct. While one may not fuss too much over style and syntax, grammar and spelling are standouts. And, if you are called upon to write more than these, then very likely your written communications will create (or mar) your brand image more than you realize. Cautionary word – never write in a moment of emotion, anger, what-have-you; never write something you would be uncomfortable saying to a person’s face; never write something that could be misconstrued or distorted or spread wrongly. Always re-read what you have written and if not sure how it appears, possibly get another person to review.

c) Body communication: your body language conveys even more than your words. Anger, despair, pleasure don’t need to be always mouthed or written; train yourself to convey the emotion you want to through your expressions and posture. Thumb rule: posture, facial disposition, and gestures are things to watch for – do they align with the emotion or brand you want to convey? Spending time before a mirror may help you see your own body language better.

Competence: the core competency for your brand

Strong and lasting brands are not built on fluff! If yours is not backed by a certain level of competence in the basic brand promise you make, it could be on shifting sands. Your brand promise is equivalent to your personal brand, and competence is at the core of it. As a corporate leader, there are certain performance attributes and soft skills you have to get to the table before you can create your mark. If you are a motivational speaker, for instance, you need to be a good public speaker, be inspirational and engrossing… your brand will be based on this competence. And the same applies to any field.

There can be other things that may sail you through – charisma, networks, the gift of the gab, etc. But, without good, basic competence, you may be on thin ice… or just be very lucky! So, a check-box activity here would be to assess if you have the necessary chops to build your brand on. Your brand credibility will rest heavily on this!

Read further on some key elements we’ve already covered >>>5 Key Elements of a Brand Personality

Creativity: have some fun in the process!

When you envision your personal brand, imagine it to be a picture on a canvas. Say, it’s a beach visual. There are some necessary elements that go with the landscape like the sea, the sand, the odd palm tree, the sun rising from the horizon. Now have fun; add a couple of birds, re-color the sun, insert a beach ball, paint in a rainbow, color over the tree…. The picture stays the same, but you have added your creativity to it!

As you move along, you will need to do this; situations, aspirations, and skills change and you should feel free to tweak and turn things to give your image suitable shape. You will also need to perk up things a bit from time to time; are you getting too predictable or dyed-in-the-wool? Do you want to nudge your audiences a bit and catch their attention? Then change your dressing style, pick up a new interest, use a new channel to reach out, dabble in a popular activity…. Do it, it’s your brand, after all!! No one ever said that you have to be the same throughout your life; just make sure that whatever you do is in line with the bigger picture of reinforcing and reaching out your personal statement.

Coming up next week: K S Ramanan’s true-life account of one of his recent coaching assignments where some of the basic building blocks in the foundation were missing while the client was going about building the superstructure. 


3 Takeaways

1. Pay utmost attention to your communication – verbal, written, body language!
2. Competence is the basis of your brand promise; your long-term credibility rests on this.
3. Be creative, reinvent yourself occasionally, have fun with your brand!


For coaching and leadership workshops on creating your Personal Brand roadmap contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

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