The 4Cs of brand management
By DeEtta Jones
By DeEtta Jones
Aug. 26, 2014 — There are plenty of reasons to care about your brand,
and high among them should be to make your voice heard: your unique
Voice is the contribution made to something larger than oneself. It’s
the medium for sharing one’s purpose, values, talents and vision for the
future. Yes, there are plenty of examples in contemporary society of
people creating a shallow brand seemingly for the sole purpose of
increasing the number of social media followers. But, before you too
hastily follow that line of thinking, consider the bigger picture – and
your values. Where do you want your name and legacy to appear in
people’s minds and hearts?
Some of the most fundamental elements of a value-rich personal brand are reflected in the 4Cs of brand management:
How do your values show themselves in your life? In the way you carry
yourself? In your conversations, friendships and choices? How do others
know what you stand for? People with strong brands – those who are most
influential and apt to attract followers and allies – ¬are
mission-driven. Their words and deeds are predictably consistent with
their values. Conviction is more than a noble concept; it’s about having
an unimpeachable character that is, and is understood by others to be,
working in the service of something greater than yourself. Again, what
is the “greater good” that you are striving for, and is it known to
others through the large and small behavioral choices you make on a
Managing your brand means caring enough about how you are perceived to
invest time and be open to behavioral modifications. Captain Ronald
Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, brought in to turnaround the
riots in Ferguson, Mo., personified caring at the press conference held
on Aug. 15, following the shooting of Michael Brown. Media from around
the country were carefully positioned to record his every word, yet the
locals standing 20 feet in front of him could not hear his remarks.
Brown walked away from the staged microphone and into the crowd because,
as he stated, “my concern is that the members of our community hear me
and be heard.”
People who are most in control of their brand are able to keep small the
gap between how they see themselves and how others see them. Research
shows that with ascension in titular leadership this becomes more
difficult, particularly because there is less access to the unfettered
truth. Simply, the higher one goes up the proverbial ladder, the smaller
the peer group becomes. Fewer peers means there are less people willing
(often because of fear of reprisal) to share honest perspectives about
the behaviors that need to stop or be changed. Without access to this
feedback, and with ascension, it is easy to only pay attention to the
limited, and affirmative, feedback received.
Caring is also being concerned about the impact you are having on others.
“Keep it classy” is a mantra for those who sometimes forget that brand
is shaped with every choice made, every word uttered. Whether choosing
to act or not act, a choice is being made. Even thoughts are choices as
we choose to focus mental and emotional energy on certain things over
Being classy classy requires intention. Think of your life as a story to
be displayed on a television show. You are one of several cast members,
each requiring a clear identity that contributes to the overall theme
of the show. Who are you relative to the other members of the cast? Are
you the protagonist? Hero? Victim? Underdog?
Create a personal narrative; psychologists call it self-authoring. You
decide the story line, then position yourself in the role that is most
desirable for you and others. Writing the story forces you to explore
the needs and motivations of others; to develop the characters and your
relationship to them—your colleagues, boss, clients, children, spouse or
partner and friends.
This desire to understand what motivates others is a key to fully
fleshing out your character’s role and behaviors in enacting the story.
It is also the essence of building a strong personal identity.
Understanding yourself in relation to the needs and motives of others is
one of the most effective ways to create a credible brand – one
powerful enough to positively influence others.
Confidence is the toughest of the Cs on this list. It can’t be taught or
bought; it has to be earned. There are people who are full of shallow
entitlement that comes across as smug confidence. Don’t pay attention to
them, and certainly don’t let yourself become one of them. It’s
transparent. They’re hiding something, which will be discovered in time.
Earned confidence is beautiful to observe. It shows itself as an
effortless comfort in one’s being, requiring no airs. People with a deep
sense of personal confidence often have many relationships, varied
interests and deep passions, make an effort to stretch their boundaries
and are comfortable saying no. Confidence is built through experience
and relationships, and wise people invest in the nurturing and
acquisition of both on an ongoing basis.
Here’s the simple truth: perception does count. People make split-second
judgments all the time. Taking control of your brand means that you are
putting yourself in the driver’s seat, making a conscious choice to
intentionally reflect behaviors and choices that allow the best of you
DeEtta Jones is a leadership strategist, social justice advocate and
author. She has more than 20 years of experience working with
individual leaders and teams in some of the world’s most prominent
universities and corporations. Her multidimensional background and fresh
perspective leaves clients feeling heard and empowered to take on some
of the major organizational and workforce challenges of our times. For
more information or to have DeEtta speak at your next event, please
| A couple of things to remember about managing your brand: