"Is your brand contemporary: Pause and reflect" - Prabir Jha, President & Global CPO- Cipla

The rule of business is simple "Jo Dikhta hai, Wo bikta hai". Simply translated, it means that only those things sell which are visible. The rule is no different for organizations and individuals alike. Also, with more and more digital penetration in our lives, it is important to let the world know "What is MY brand identity?" 

Against a backdrop of the increasing significance of personal branding and the important role of social media as a harbinger of promising brand building initiative, Career2NextOrbit team approached none else but the Champion of Personal Branding, Mr. Prabir Jha for this interview and we thank him for being gracious to accept our request.


About Mr. Prabir Jha:  Prabir Jha is the President & Global Chief People Officer at Cipla Inc. He is known as a Human Resources leader with diverse industry experience. He has been the CHRO of not only two New York Stock Exchange listed companies but also the CHRO of two Fortune 500 companies. He has assisted all companies where he had been the CHRO to make it to the List of ‘Top Ten Best Companies to Work For’ in India. He holds a degree in PGDPMIR from XLRI, Jamshedpur.


Career2NextOrbit Team: How important is creating Brand “I”?

Prabir Jha: Personally, I am a great believer of Brand “I”. In the present VUCA world, a talent of today has no guarantee for being the talent of tomorrow as well. Let’s accept the fact: Life is subjective, and thus any assessment which happens with human interface is bound to have subjectivity, irrespective of our claims and efforts. Also, in the world of free agents, the clamour is to get best brands for yourself and that’s where the concept of Brand “I” plays a great role. Further, I must iterate that it is not a one-time process but includes continuous Positioning, Repositioning, Re-packaging and Re-purposing to stay relevant with changing times.


Career2NextOrbit Team: For young MBA students, what plays a greater role- Brand of College or Brand of I?

Prabir Jha: Let me answer it in two parts.

First, the reality is that it is a discriminating world, and same is the case with the quality of degrees and diplomas as well. With brand being a perception game, in the starting phase-college brand does play an important role and thus when you start, not everyone has the same start. Some schools give you a little head-start than others. That is why I advise young students to go for even slightly lesser known course if it is from a better college. The wider exposure, network and the rub-off adds to your self confidence. 

However, the second part is even more important. A good college degree gives you just the ticket to play, not the ticket to win. Life at the Military Academy, however gruelling it may seem, can never replicate the skirmishes at the border trenches. So, the moment you start working, it is a different game. It will be foolish to assume that a good start will always lead you to be a winner. People often allow complacency and arrogance to dull the initial polish. 

This is where personal Brand comes into picture. Few things which help you create Brand “I” at workplace is your hunger to perform, zeal to prove a point and unbridled initiative and enthusiasm. Everyone keeps a watch on what you do. More critically, on how you do it.  Do remember that reputation or Personal Brand gets created, destroyed, re-created and so it is a continuous process. The onus is squarely on "U" for the "I"!


Career2NextOrbit Team: What is the role of Social Media in creating Brand “I”?

Prabir Jha: To say it is important would be a gross understatement. With the newer generation virtually monopolizing Social Media, it won’t be wrong to say “What you are is the reflection of what your social media profile is”. In today’s world, it is being increasingly used to cultivate and hone your brand promise.


Career2NextOrbit Team: What are the three things you would advise young MBA students to do to create Brand “I”?

Prabir Jha: I call them 3 "I" Mantras.

• No brand is ever successful without credibility. So, build a credible reputation of Doing, Behaving and Delivering always.

• Must connect and communicate with all key stakeholder groups (Reputation gets built on what people say, and not necessarily on what you say).

• Always validate your brand’s relevance and ensure it is contemporary. “Pause and Reflect”, and keep on re-inventing and re-positioning as relevant.

Career2NextOrbit Team: What are the three things you would advise young MBA students to do to create Brand “I”?

Prabir Jha: The three things I would advise young MBA students against doing is:

• DON’T LIE. Speaking a lie is a sure-shot reputation killer.

• DON’T FAKE. Don’t try to become a brand which is essentially not you. Lack of authenticity will kill your brand

• DON’T BELITTLE OTHERS: While trying to build your brand, don’t end up trying to show someone else lower. Focus on highlighting your positives and not others’ negatives.


Career2NextOrbit Team: What role can B-Schools play in sensitizing students about power of Brand “I”?

Prabir Jha: B-Schools must make the students aware about the power of Brand “I”. If running an elective about it looks a difficult task, the minimum they should do is:

• Encourage them to write, speak and participate in various forums.

• Teach them the virtues and essentials of how to influence without authority  

• Invite the right set of people, who can help the students create brand “I”, to interact and inspire the students

B-Schools must remember that these students are their brand ambassadors for tomorrow, and their poor performance will rub off badly on the institutes as well.

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