Personal Branding for CXOs


As personal branding makes a shy entry in India, CXOs and top entrepreneurs are naturally being the first to adopt it. The most important point to be kept in mind in this journey is that the primary focus should be the person and the secondary focus should be the brand. It goes without saying that the 'C' level executives must have 'A' level behavior & personality.

The energy and the passion
Whenever I meet a CXO or a top management professional, the first thing I notice is the positive or negative energy surrounding the person. It probably reveals the psyche of a person also, whether he/she believes, human beings to be basically good or bad. Though one can demonstrate one’s passion on mass media also, but success on social media is not possible without genuine passion (or the passion of the staff, you have outsourced it to).

The role models
Corporate world has very few role models and it is a pleasure to come across corporate leaders, who are truly humble and have been able to bring out their inner greatness. When I talk of personal branding for CXOs, these gentlemen always come to my mind.

Mr Bharat Wakhlu, Group Resident Director, Tata Group is surely humble beyond measure. He is a graduate of IIM Bangalore, an author of three books and yet has simplicity, which is hard to believe. He is also General Secretary, Foundation for Restoration of National Values and India badly needs such men, who can restore the lost glory of the nation. The President of the Foundation is Dr. E. Sreedharan, the former MD of Delhi Metro. Mr Atul Jayawant, Group CIO, Aditya Birla group is another name that comes to my mind, when I think of role models in the corporate world.

The race to become the CEO
The CXOs of Marketing and Finance have an edge over other functions in the race to become CEO, as the promoters tend to be biased towards them (because one function brings money and the other saves money). Traditionally money/ finance has been considered a more scarce and respected resource in India, though the new industries like IT are giving “People” the due respect they deserve and do not treat them as just another resource. 

CXOs heading the HR, Information, Operations and other functions may naturally be left behind in this tough race. Personal Branding can help them play on a level playing field. Some CXOs are left behind as they may have less opportunities available for brand and perception building, due to their nature of work.

The Young and even younger CEO
In the age of digital and social media we live in, the young will play more and more critical role in the top management. I had an interesting discussion with Mr Amit Sharma, GM & Head-Strategy & Marketing, Tata Communications. He told me that social media has become too popular among the youth and interestingly we don’t have young people on the board of directors. Many companies are thinking of inducting youth on the board, so that their understanding of social media is taken into account during corporate strategy making. I often come across impressive young CXOs whom I call, old heads on  young shoulders (due to the wisdom and maturity they display).


I shall remember your warmth forever

Another gentleman who thoroughly impressed me (I don’t think I get impressed too easily) in recent times is Mr Vijay Ramachandran, Editor in Chief, (PC World & other IDG magazines). The warm positive attitude is something I liked about him the most. Is it a gift of God or we can develop it, I wonder? He has forced me to do a serious introspection about my Enlarge Excel Evolve model, whether it needs to accommodate mass media too, and not just restrict to social media only.



Greatness is always humble

Humility makes us great. It was a pleasure to be a Speaker along with Dr Ram Charan, world renowned Business Guru, Academic & Author (http://www.ram-charan.com/) at an event recently. He still uses OHP projector, but I wonder men of his stature need any projectors at all. The most important attribute for a great CXO or a great personal brand is humility, and the rest of the qualities (in my opinion) take a back seat.

I joked in fact, to a group of senior PR professionals that PR is about pyaar (love), genuine love for people. In any case the Indian Namaste means, “The divine in me bows down to the divine in you” and it can only happen when you are humble and caring (loving) enough.


Let the focus be on becoming a great human being and let the by-product be a great personal brand. And to do that, let us not forget to mind the gap.

Related Posts
From CXO to CEO
The CXO was zapped & other interesting anecdotes
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Brief Profile
Dr Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant and Mega Success Coach. He is based in New Delhi, India and specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is, "Enlarge as a Human Being, Excel as a Social Media Being and Evolve as a Personal Brand"

To know more about Dr Nagpal, visit www.dramitnagpal.com. Contact for personal branding/social media speaking/training/coaching. If you have doubts about the power of personal branding through storytelling on social media, connect with Dr Nagpal, on Linkedin or Twitter and see for yourself.

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