By : Mr Andrew Ponniah






Branding has become a cliché in business communities around the world. It’s almost as if it’s the magic bullet for new business success and what sustains a product/service life. People act as if they know what it means and how it works. But do we?

Here’s a recap. Branding is the entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product or service. It arose from the old days to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. Branding is the process of creating and disseminating the brand name. Branding can be applied to the entire corporate identity (e.g. F&N) as well as to individual product and service names (e.g. Toyota).


David Ogilvry described branding as follows- The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging and price, its history, its reputation and the way it’s advertised. There is an emotional side to branding which makes it so strong and pervasive. Branding is an evoked emotion, an image, a feeling, a perception.


In this paper, I will attempt to link branding to leadership styles as I believe this is an audience of budding entrepreneurs who want to launch out. A leadership style is simply the way you lead- rational, objective, EQ based, intuitive or dominant. The linkage to branding is vital because the leader sets the tone of the brand and in many ways is the embodiment of the brand itself.






Here’s a useful 7-step plan


1.) Define your business goal

2.) Understand the market dynamics

3.) Target Your Segment

4.) Differentiate your product’s unique features

5.) SWOT Competitor Analysis

6.) Develop a Positioning Statement e.g. Singapore : “A unique blend from the best of the modern world and rich cultures to deliver enriching experiences for the discerning visitor”.

7.) Work out pricing, communication channels and packaging






In summary, you could build your brand around:

A.Price – You believe that the market will always go for the lowest price vendor.

B.Quality – This has become an ubiquitous concept since everybody says they are “quality” providers. Is there discernable quality in your product/service offering?

C.Packaging – You believe the crowd likes glitter.

D.Attributes of the Product/Service – A good strategy, especially if your product actually is reliable and your service is superior.

E.A Concept Design – If you believe that you bring the future now or always at the cutting-edge of the next new thing.

F.Blue Ocean Strategy – Don’t go where all the competitors are and competing (red ocean); instead go further out and see offerings where no one has tread before.





Goleman, Boyatziz and McKee (2002), in their book “Primal Leadership” talks about the 6 basic leadership styles.


In today’s world, it is not enough to lead based on IQ, developing your EQ and SQ are critical and increasingly is the x-factor needed for success.





McIntosh and Rima (1997), in their book “Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership”, outline five pitfalls to note –


Pitfall 1: The Compulsive Leader

The leader who needs to maintain control at all costs, Moses was an example.


Pitfall 2: The Narcissistic Leader

A man/woman obsessed with his/her image who believes that image is everything. Solomon was an example.


Pitfall 3: The Paranoid Leader

This is man shackled by suspicion and fear of being taken advantage of. King Saul was an example.


Pitfall 4: The Co-Dependent Leader

A person with an insatiable need to please. Samson was an example.


Pitfall 5: The Passive-Aggressive Leader

This is a person characterised by traits of a reluctance to act, prove to short outbursts expressing intense emotions such as sadness, anger and frustration. These are followed by short-lived periods of sorrow and repentance. Jonah was an example.






Developing a brand is an art and is a thing of creativity and passion. A brand will reflect and typify your (the leader’s) values and beliefs. Your leadership style will make or break the brand you create. If your leadership style resonates with the brand, it sits well (the big picture is right) and will attract people. If you choose to alienate your leadership style from the brand and fall into the 5 traps outlined, be aware of what it takes to get the brand and you moving in sync again.


Be true to the brand. Live the attributes of the brand in your interactions with customers and staff. Work on enhancing your EQ/SQ, be reflective and don’t think that you are always right.










By: Mr Ian Poulier






Organizations need to always at the highest level of performance and effectiveness. The whole gamut of management and leadership issues like decision-making, staff relations, creativity, stress, sensitive-issue handling all have to be dealt with well and of a quality that takes the organization forward meaningfully and purposefully.


So how can executive coaching and mentoring help here – it helps people discover their hidden potential, achieve it and bring the future into the present.


Here’s an excerpt from John Kotter’s “Our Iceberg is Melting”- a modern day management parable about penguins and facing up to change!


>>>>> “The following day, Louis called for a meeting at noon of the entire colony. As you would expect at this point, nearly everyone showed up – so there would be again no lunch for the increasingly desperate leopard seals.


An energized Professor spent the entire morning preparing a sort of 97-slide Powerpoint presentation for Louis to use in communicating their vision. The Head Penguin looked over the material, which was very impressive, then gave it to Buddy. After studying the Professor’s work, Buddy said, “I’m sorry, but I’m a little lost”. Louis asked where he had become stuck. Buddy told him it was on slide #2. Alice shut her eyes and did deep breathing exercises.


The Head Penguin looked again at the presentation created by the Professor. It was, in its way, beautifully done. But Louis kept thinking about how difficult it would be to help the colony understand his message. How do you talk to birds who were anxious, preoccupied, sceptical, tradition bound, or unimaginative?


Louis decided he needed to try a different method, even though it could be risky. He did not like risk, but...


Louis began the colony’s assembly by saying, “Fellowship penguins, as we meet this challenge – and we definitely will – it is more important than ever to remember who we really are.” <<<<<





What can we learn from this small excerpt.



Louis, the Head Penguin, had to figure out by herself how to bring about change by addressing the penguins. She had to self-coach herself. Most organizations are not fortunate to have people of such personal quality like Louis. They need a coach, on the sidelines, to coach them into thinking, acting and relationally communicating and integrating goals that shape and move their people. The goal in Coaching is to improve an individual’s performance at work and is usually a short-term duration of about 3 months and is focussed on one or two issues.








Generally, it covers the following:

1.It consists of one-to-one developmental discussions.

2.It provides people with feedback on both their strengths and weaknesses.

3.It is aimed at specific issues/areas.

4.It is a relatively short-term activity, except in executive coaching, which tends to have a longer timeframe.

5.It is essentially a non-directive form of development.

6.It focuses on improving performance and developing/enhancing individuals skills.

7.It is used to address a wide range of issues.

8.Coaching activities have both organisational and individual goals.

9.It assumes that the individual is psychologically healthy and does not require a clinical intervention.

10.It works on the premise that clients are self-aware, or can achieve self-awareness.

11.It is time-bounded.

12.It is a skilled activity.

13.Personal issues may be discussed but the emphasis is on performance on work.


(Reference : BREFI group)








Mentoring usually involves a senior person within the organization take on a younger executive under his wings to help him grow into a corporate position, understanding the culture and respecting the values and missions of that organization. Mentoring relationships can last for a long-time say 2 to 3 years.








Both Coaching and Mentoring are future-directed while Counselling usually has to do resolving issues in the past for that person i.e. it involves a psycho-social intervention that tries to resolve a psychological problem in the past.








Coaching – is a process that enables learning and development to occur thus performance improve. To be a successful a Coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place. - (Parsloe)


Mentoring – is “off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking.” – (Clutterback, D & Megginson)










He is not an expert in the client’s field and may never have held a job at their level. He is, however, an expert, in helping individuals:


1.) Asses their current situation

2.) Define goals

3.) Target areas to strengthen or improve

4.) Create an effective action plan

5.) Understand and overcome barriers that may inhibit progress, and

6.) Hold the individual accountable for implementing the changes and reaching the goals they desire.






Coaching addresses individual and organizational change, supports personal transformation and career role transition, cultivates development of leaders and facilitates the creation of a learning culture.

Don’t wait for a problem to occur. Find a coach now who can enlarge your personal capacity for leading change successfully.




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