Stop Thinking about Personal Branding, Start Thinking About Leadership

About Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Pikkal & Co – performance communication agency responsible for producing Award Winning Podcasts for business brands. Clients including McKinsey, Julius Baer, IBM and the Singapore Government. Investors and Advisors from Netflix, Intel, Apple and iQiYi. He is a published Amazon author covering human communication technologies, marketing and branding. He has produced over 1,000 podcast episodes and webinar shows with notable shows including the Tony Fernandes Podcast. Graham is a graduate in Artificial Intelligence and is currently leading Pikkal & Co to use Machine Learning and Conversation Analytics to automate the heavy lifting of communication to elevate the human touch.

Personal Branding vs Leadership

the 8th habit stephen covey

The world doesn’t need another brand.

So don’t become one.

We live in a very noisy media marketplace, full of brands, messages and people demanding our attention.

What we need today, more than ever, are Leaders.

What is the difference between Leadership and Branding?

Leadership is about standing for something; being something to somebody rather than everything to everybody. Leadership means creating conversations that matter. Leadership means Finding Your Voice.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is the best selling self-development book of all time.

Rightly so, I still try live out the habits every day, some 20 years after first picking the book up.

But a lot has changed since Covey wrote the book in 1989.

15 years on in 2004, Covey launched a sequel “The 8th Habit” citing the rise of the information age and the need for new skills of leadership in the 21st Century. According to Covey, the 8th Habit was…

“Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.”

Be the “X” Guy

A few months ago an Aussie friend sent me a parody video on WhatsApp. The video was making fun of people starting a podcast during the Pandemic. Typical sarcastic Aussie humour. I loved it. What I loved more than the video was that when the video was forwarded to him, he also thought of me. I was “the Podcast guy.”

Millions of variations of a conversation like this are playing out on social media and in meeting rooms right now:

“You know Graham?”
“I dunno. Graham who?”
“You know him. Graham, the podcast guy.”
“Oh! That guy…”

If you’re “that guy who does that thing” you occupy a space in the public’s attention. That space is the most valuable real estate in the world today because in modern business communication, attention is your biggest cost.

When Tony Fernandes invited me to Red Q it was to record the Tony Fernandes Podcast (video on Youtube) not to talk about startup investment (another brick in my story).

Tony probably gets pitched 100s of times a day and has become annealed to the BS. I didn’t go to Red Q to record an Instagram video or write a newspaper article. So, when you have the attention of somebody, it’s because you are “that guy” doing “that guy”.

Finding “that thing” which makes you “that guy” is why finding your voice is a challenge worthy of your time.

When you’re “that guy” people listen. People seek you out.

My colleague Bharath at our B2B Podcast Agency goes by the nickname “Magic Mic”.

People seek out Magic Mic with questions about microphones, mixers and reverb. The other day a podcast host was struggling with reverb in a hotel room which made the recording distant and cold. After a little detective work, Magic Mic found she was facing the microphone at a glass partition. He suggested she take the mic and face it so she talks into the closet and place a large cushion behind it. It was an unconventional fix but it worked wonders for sound quality – magic even!

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Find Your Voice

Finding your voice is about being able to tell your story with conviction. Magic Mic has produced over 1,000 podcast episodes, possibly the most of any producer in Asia and certainly in the top 10 in the world. But while the value is obvious, packaging it as a “product” isn’t obvious a first.

– What are you “That Guy” for?
– If you had an 18 minute TED presentation slot, what would the title of your presentation be? Why YOU?
– What do people seek you out for and ask advice on? Listen to these market signals

Being “that guy” isn’t something you’ll discover off the bat, it’s a process defined by what I call “Agile Storytelling”.

Every adventure begins with a departure, a leaving of one comfortable world to cross the threshold into the new.

At the time I had no “why” to speak of, but like all good stories, there was a “start”. Like all good agile software stories, there was first a “hello world”.

Mine was no different.

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About Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Pikkal & Co – performance communication agency responsible for producing Award Winning Podcasts for business brands. Clients including McKinsey, Julius Baer, IBM and the Singapore Government. Investors and Advisors from Netflix, Intel, Apple and iQiYi. He is a published Amazon author covering human communication technologies, marketing and branding. He has produced over 1,000 podcast episodes and webinar shows with notable shows including the Tony Fernandes Podcast. Graham is a graduate in Artificial Intelligence and is currently leading Pikkal & Co to use Machine Learning and Conversation Analytics to automate the heavy lifting of communication to elevate the human touch.
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