I started investigating Branding and found it would be a relevant angle to bring in people I admire and look up to for their work and eye ethic towards Branding. My goal is to demystify the word Branding so that anyone can fully understand its paradoxes and implement their version of Branding.
By collecting an eclectic panel of definitions and visions of what Branding is and implies from those who do Branding, use Branding, expand Branding: Brand makers.
I discovered the work and mastery of Brenden in 2020 while testing the platform "Hi Right Now" we had a lovely talk, and I have been following his work so far. His eloquence, wisdom, and confidence are real inspirations and dedication to making an impact. I was curious to know his thoughts about the link between Branding and public speaking. So I asked him to join me for this little talk.
Life is great, can't complain, you know. Beautiful family, beautiful life, great business. Can't complain. How about you?
Life and work are good. Next year, I'm also starting the podcast, so I'm excited about that!
Wow, that's awesome!
This Branding mini-series is a way for me to start a new chapter about Branding and my expertise.
I love that!
Do you want to tell me more about yourself and MasterTalk?
Yeah, for sure. My name is Brenden Kumarasamy. I'm the founder of Master talk. MasterTalk is a YouTube channel that I started to help the world master the art of communication and public speaking. The thesis behind the channel comes from my belief that
the next Elon Musk is a 15-year-old girl who probably can't afford me. So, I started making videos, and I built a business around it so that the whole world has access to these free resources.
Wow. As always, it's super empowering. When I discovered your work, I knew you were the one to talk to about public speaking and storytelling.
For you what is the most empowering link between Branding and public speaking?
The empowering link between Branding and public speaking is that communication is the catalyst of ideas. If you have a personal brand, you want to market something you need to communicate.
I think what is great about the art of public speaking is that it allows you to talk to more people. Many company brands rely on their employees to be their beacon, and behind every organization is a person.
When we think about Nike, It's not just about the Brand people associate with; it's the spokespeople, whether the athletes, Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, and his passion for his book "Shoe Dog".
What about Apple? It's Steve Job in the backstage, even if he's not alive anymore. Finally, Tesla and Space X, we know that Elon Musk is primarily the person who's driving the company in its direction.
What is fun about communication and how it ties into Branding is how communication allows us to be the spokesperson of our ideas and share them in a different medium and format to reach more people.
Yeah. I agree. The person behind is the force of a brand voice. You are a personal brand, and you also have your company MasterTalk. What have you learnt so far about Branding? and how have you leveraged your Branding so far?
The biggest thing I've learned about Branding is that it's the person who drives the Brand, and you must understand what makes you different from everybody else.
First, when I started MasterTalk, it was mostly by accident. I just looked at other YouTube channels and realized no one was sharing information on communication in an accessible and practical way that was easy to get to people.
The other way is to venture on a mission.
For example, when I say something like: ''I believe that the next Elon Musk is a 15-year-old girl who can't afford me'', that's very unique to me because no one really says that.
What is it about what you're doing that's different to everyone else?
There are different ways of doing that; it could be what's better about your services and products? What is the bigger vision of what you are trying to achieve? And how the vision is more detailed than everyone else. What are the core brand values that you have as an organization and what you're doing?
One of the most significant things for me is generosity; as I become more successful, everyone around me should become more successful.
If I make a million dollars a year, that also means that I'm impacting 10 million lives throughout the world because I'm re-investing a lot of that capital back into the YouTube Channel. So I think the biggest lesson I learned about Branding is that people drive the Brand.
Added to that is the need to communicate your differentiation and what makes you stand out. I'll give you an example quick. So, let's see what you think about Nike.
Just do it.
Yeah, "Just do it". You know exactly what they stand for, and it's greatness and competition. What about Adidas?
I actually can't think of anything. And I think that's the key.
Many people don't understand what Branding implies and how to do it, and they can lose touch with what the Brand initially stands for. As you know, whenever a brand or a company grows, many people come in, strategies evolve, and the core message can dilute.
Do you have a piece of advice or tip that any founder could start today to improve the grounding of their Branding?
Absolutely. For me, it all ties back to communication because that's my area of expertise. What I recommend is that founders can outsource anything but the message. You can outsource your marketing, HR, or even accounting, but don't outsource the core message.
When companies are at scale, we notice that many founder-led companies are still communicating very often with their staff or people around them. Whether it is Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook or even Apple with Steve Jobs (when he was alive), the best founders are constantly communicating who you should be, why we're doing this, and what our Brand means.
The problem with most companies is that once they're no longer founder-led (once the founder is no longer in the business), the message and the Brand start to dilute over time as the people who created the organization begin to leave the organization.
For example, it is harder to bring back that core flare that the initial founders had with IBM.
Same thing with Hewlett-Packard with HP; when the two founders died, it was a lot harder to bring back that energy, that flow.
My recommendations to founders would be to communicate the culture and who they should be as often as possible.
But teach the correct people and create evangelists in that organization who could also communicate that Brand and embody that Brand. You still have people who express that initial drive for you if you leave.
I agree. What is your definition of Branding?
My definition of Branding is one's ability to communicate unique gifts to the world in a most effective medium.
Powerful. Well, that was pretty short. I'm going to add more questions, I am a chatty person (laughs)
Sure, Jump in! I'm supposed to tell you the secrets of communication (laughs)
I read one of your posts this morning about money and the lessons you learned from the way you're using it. What is your take on public speaking improving the financial state of a Brand?
The way I see it, Keva, money is directly related to how well we communicate our brands besides the product and service, assuming that's good.
If Elon Musk never talked about Tesla or showed up in that way, no one would know about the company, and the company wouldn't make nearly as many sales as it does today.
Same thing with Facebook. If people don't talk about the company, people don't find out about it. It's tough to scale a product, especially at the beginning when nobody knows what you're doing.
It was the same thing with me when I started MasterTalk on YouTube.
My YouTube channel is growing now, it's easier now, but that's because my count is much higher. When I started, it was zero; I understood I needed to network to grow: ''I need to talk to 1000 people one-on-one and build relationships to get to a thousand subscribers''.
• The key message here is that as you communicate more effectively, you'll start to see indirect benefits to the Brand and the impact and your bottom line. And the most straightforward example I can give here is that every senior leader is a great communicator at work. If you're a manager at a company and get promoted and are really good at communication, you practice and work on it. You're getting an intrinsic financial benefit for mastering your communication skills, and that's one way to do it.
• The other way to do it is to make more sales whenever you talk about the Brand. For example, when you give a speech, when you talk about products and services and speak in a friendly way, you'll tend to sell more products a lot faster.
• And then, the third piece is that
The Brand's value will start to increase. A portion of Tesla's worth is also because of the person running the company. So, if you're an excellent communicator, you're increasing the intrinsic value of your Brand as well.
Many introverts are founders; they pair up with extraverts more with communicating. Do you have any tips for introverts who are founders and want to improve their public speaking?
Of course. I have a little video on this, but basically, I say that introverts being bad speakers is a myth that needs to be broken.
Because many of my best clients are introverts, I say that because introverts have three key advantages that extroverts like me spend years trying to get.
• Number one: introverts are much better at pausing.
Whenever you speak, when you pause, you're able to emphasize key points in your message like I'm doing right now.
An introvert can catch that fast because they speak a lot less on average, so pausing is very natural for them in the speech whereas somebody like me as you can see, I'm always talking, talking, talking all the time! It's difficult for me to pause. And take a beat.
You perfected it, right?
• I did for years, and I was terrible at it, which brings me to number two.
I'm a terrible listener, but introverts are exceptionally great listeners, right. Because once again, they spend less time talking to people on average, so they spend more time observing: ''does Keva actually get the message? Am I communicating it in a way that she understands it?''
The extrovert is talking and not paying much attention.
An introvert is a better listener; they can absorb more information.
More importantly, they can adapt the presentation much quicker to the audience's needs. In a way, an extrovert can't because they are always in their head, just talking.
• The third piece is that introverts are more accessible than extroverts. I'll give you an example. Let's take Gary Vaynerchuck or Gary V; everyone knows him.
You either like him or not; there's no in-between. You either really like Gary V (I'm a fan personally), or you really don't like him (Oh, that guy is off-putting; he's so loud, he's always screaming).
Great, he's passionate. To some people, he's arrogant or crazy, but nobody says I hate Brene Brown.
Brene Brown is like a teacher; she's a ted talk speaker. Or better, nobody says I hate Seth Godin, right. Why is that? Nobody hates introverts because introverts are a lot more accessible.
There's a lot of advantages to being an introvert.
My last question is about listening. Branding is also about taking the time to listen, once you have done all the work, to storytell your Brand effectively, and now you receive the message. Do you have any suggestions on being a better listener?
Absolutely, and this took much time, so don't worry. I'm working as we go. What I would say is super simple for listening is to respond more with questions rather than statements.
When you communicate with a human being, it usually sounds like this:
- ''This is what I believe!''
- ''But this is what I think.''
- ''But this is what I think.''
It is statement after statement.
Whereas exceptional listeners tell you what they believe.
The person who's listening goes:
- ''Okay, but why do you believe that?'' 'Why is that important to you?'
- ''What would you say and why if you were to communicate my ideas back to me? If you were to change how I communicate my Brand, what would you change and why?''
- ''There's one thing you didn't like about the way I communicated it; what was that piece you didn't like that really resonated''.
They ask questions rather than statements, and obviously, I can't answer back the question because I'm a guest. Still, in most situations, whenever I'm listening to someone outside this medium, I'm always asking questions rather than responding with statements.
That's the key to being an exceptional listener.
Amazing. There's a lot of empathy in Branding, storytelling, and public speaking. I think that's why it's so powerful, and it teaches all of us. People who are not in the field, people who are in their daily lives, and we are all, in a way, Branding ourselves.
Do you want to add anything more about the subject, about the theme?
I would love for people to check out one book recommendation is ''Thirst'' by Scott Harrison. I think Scott Harrison is exceptional at Branding, especially in the non-profit section.
From a communication perspective, what I've always appreciated about his work is that if you're building a non-profit company, there's a lot you can learn from that book because he's always tackling Branding from a non-profit perspective.
Somebody like him could do so much magic with Branding; with a very little budget, there's a lot we can do as well as ours.
Excellent, and I am going to add it right away. Well, that's it. It was short but perfect.
That's awesome. Thanks for having me, Keva.
You're welcome; thank you, it was great talking to you!
Special thanks to Ashwa for the detailed transcription of the talk.
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