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Expert Advice: Creating Your Personal Brand

Why is there a small number of women in corporates representing 50% of the world’s population? 

Out of the Fortune 500 companies currently, only 32 or 6.4% companies have women CEOs. I am sure we can think of hundreds of reasons. This minuscule number is however a significant leap from 4.2% in the year 2016.  In this blog, I am not going to focus on the problem, rather will focus on one of the solutions.

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Even though a lot of people deserve to become the CEO or get a promotion based on their skills, expertise, knowledge, they may not get the coveted title. In a study conducted at Harvard University, they found out that a person’s success depends 15% on technical skills and whooping 85% is based on soft skills.

In today’s fast moving, competitive and global world, possessing knowledge may not help a person grow in their career and become successful. The missing link between merit and success is often “Executive Presence”. Executive Presence is also called one’s invisible resume. It goes way beyond one’s qualifications or knowledge. EP is the entire package. It comprises of an individual’s personality, charisma, ability to connect with people, composure, confidence and a lot more.

A lot of qualities associated with EP are intangible. It is our “Personal Brand” that can create a tangible persona in the eyes and minds of people. Companies invest crores of rupees, time and strategy on branding activities in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and to create a distinct impression in the minds of customers. Similarly, we need to create our “Personal Brand” to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

There is however, a simple model to make these authentic qualities more tangible.


  1. Authenticity – Create a brand that stands for the real you. Your true personality, values and strengths. Trying to ape someone else is not sustainable in the long-term. It also needs to be appropriate for your age, role (mother / homemaker / CEO), industry that you work in, your lifestyle.
  2. Unique – What makes you stand out? What are the skills and qualities that are unique to you?
  3. Relevant – Identify from the qualities that you possess, what makes you compelling? What are the qualities that make you ideal for the job / role / opportunity?


  1. List down your short-term (3 years) and long-term goals (10 years). Your goals should include your professional and personal goals.
  2. List down the skills, qualities and characteristics you need, to help you achieve those goals. These words form the basis of your “Personal Brand”
  3. Design your Personal Brand using the ABCD Model


Personal Branding can be best explained through the ABCD Model

A – Appearance (The way you dress and groom)

Dress with a purpose. Take efforts to present yourself well wherever you go. To the office, for meetings at the PTA, for a brunch with your friends. You are creating your brand everywhere you go.

B – Behaviour (Professional conduct, etiquette and social protocol)

The way you conduct yourself should be in sync with your personal brand strategy. The way you behave with others, is how others behave with you.

C – Communication (verbal communication and body language)

Your verbal communication as well as body language needs to send out the key messages. For example, if being confident is your brand attribute, convey this is your body language as well.

D – Digital Presence (your online impression – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.)

Use the online space for showcasing your knowledge and skill sets. Write blogs, participate in relevant groups and discussions.

Your personal brand needs to be consistent across all 4 aspects. It is a long-term process and needs continuous effort.


Greeshma Thampi

Greeshma Thampi is Chief Image Consultant and Director at Avancé Image Management. She is an MBA and a Certified Image Management Consultant. She is also Vice President – Membership at IMPA (Image Management Professionals Association), the first association for Image Consultants in India and the Middle East. She is empanelled as Master Trainer with Femina Believe Learning Academy (Times of India Group)


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