I was sitting at a restaurant on holiday with a number of friends and they were all laughing. Not with me, but at me. They were really cackling.
What was the trigger for their laughter?
My initial podcasting efforts.
I have to say it stung a bit but I knew what they meant. The quality of the filming, the clarity of the sound and, probably most embarrassing of all, the intro music. It was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek but, in retrospect, it was more foot in mouth.
Being honest I was a bit hurt, but I hand it out often enough that when it’s handed back, you’ve got to take it on a silver platter.
Anyway, pain and reflection = progress, right?
My friend and erstwhile colleague Ally Thomson has developed a significant skillset and is renowned for his innovative CPD offering, Hey Legal.
I told him I was thinking of doing the podcast but was a bit uncertain about the format, style, and platform, so asked him for his advice;
“Just do it and get it out there.”
I did it. I put it out there, and it was rubbish. Thanks, Ally.
Because everyone is doing podcasting.
Reflecting on the lessons learned from my own embarrassing experience, it dawned on me that the reason most of the podcasts I listen to work is because they have a clear mission – or as Simon Sinek would say, a clear ‘Why’. (For more on this, you can watch Simon Sinek’s start with Why).
For each podcast, there is an introductory sentence or two that clearly explains the podcast’s purpose:
How I Built This with Guy Raz: Available on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcast The ‘Why’ – Guy Raz interviews the world’s best-known entrepreneurs to learn how they built their iconic brands.
In each episode, founders reveal deep, intimate moments of doubt and failure, and share insights on their eventual success. How I Built This is a master-class on innovation, creativity, leadership and how to navigate challenges of all kinds.
Griefcast: Available on platforms such as Spotify and Apple PodcastThe ‘Why’ – “My goal right from the beginning was that I wanted it to be a podcast that, when it stopped, you didn’t feel worse,” says Cariad Lloyd, host of Griefcast, a weekly interview podcast where media personalities share stories about loved ones they’ve lost.
“We’re all in this club that no one asked to join, and it’s really helpful when you realize there’s other people in the club. Part of grief is feeling quite isolated, so when you realize, ‘Oh, it’s not just me,’ It does help.”
In each episode, Lloyd makes space for natural, unhurried conversations for her guests to talk about death where, in her words, “Nobody’s going to change the subject.”
Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee: Available on platforms such as Spotify and Apple PodcastThe ‘Why’ – “Health has become overcomplicated. I aim to simplify it” In this podcast, we hear stories from leading health experts and exciting personalities who offer easy health life-hacks, expert advice and debunk common health myths giving you the tools to revolutionise how you eat, sleep, move and relax.
Hosted by Dr Chatterjee – one of the most influential GPs in the country with nearly 20 years experience, star of BBC 1’s Doctor In the House, and author of 4 internationally best-selling books, including ‘The 4 Pillar Plan’ – Feel Better, Live More aims to inspire, empower and transform the way we feel.
When we are healthier we are happier because when we feel better we live more.
I had been approaching my podcast from the point of view of just getting it down. I needed to find my ‘why’ first.
The key word in the above sentence is ‘my’. This is a personal endeavour, with my head on the chopping block and, as such, I had to work out my why. So I cued up Jenny Plant’s podcast with Ash Jones, sat on the spin bike in the house, pedalled for 40 minutes, and listened.
Creative Agency Account Management Podcast: Available on platforms such as Spotify and Apple PodcastThe ‘Why’ – This podcast is for you if you are managing day to day client relationships in a creative agency. The aim of the podcast is to share insights and tips to help you add more value to the client’s business, strengthen your relationships with your clients, develop your skills in account management and grow your agency’s business.
Sound a bit cringey? Yes it does, but in the age of social media and influencers etc it’s a very hot topic right now. The truth is that in business it has been around for a long time. It’s just maybe that we didn’t, until relatively recently, have a phrase to describe it.
Wider business examples of strong personal brands would include Richard Branson, Anna Wintour, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tony Robbins. In each case the personality and the brand which that person represents almost become the same thing, especially in the last case.
Closer to home, in the legal context, there are many cases of individual lawyers building a brand for themselves and, as such, attracting work as first choice on the basis of that activity.
Over the years in Scotland, this could have included Lawrence Dowdall (Get me Dowdall!), Joe Beltrami, Austin Lafferty, and Amer Anwar.
In England and Wales, one can think of George Carman, Michael Mansfield, Nick Freeman (Mr Loophole), and Ayesha Vardag.
For some, the reputation is built on practical excellence. With others, it is built on a willingness to engage with and use the media. The net outcome is the same; more work.
In my opinion, a lot of this happened in the past almost by accident. I very much doubt there was any sort of plan in place but, as momentum built, they have either doubled down or perhaps wrapped more planning around the kernel of the good idea.
I’m referring to the lawyers here – not the initial business examples listed. In those cases, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that that extensive marketing planning has been missed.
At this point, it’s probably worth considering the concept of a business brand versus a personal brand.
The distinct identity of a business in the mind of its target audience. It incorporates company logo, design, mission, and tone of voice. It is also determined by customer experience, pricing, and quality.
Comes about as a result of a conscious and intentional effort to create and influence perception of an individual within a defined audience.
As CEO of MLT Digital, I’m conscious that I need to ‘put myself out there’ and build my personal brand as a thought leader.
I’m at the very beginning of this journey. In fact, the starting point of my journey was my friends laughing at me because my initial efforts at podcasting were so poor.
My destination is the development of a personal brand (with an associated body of work) that supports and drives my business objectives.
I’ve spent the past few weeks, since arriving back from holiday, listening to podcasts on personal branding and reading associated literature. As a result, I’ve;
But why am I actually doing this?
I want to use my personal brand to grow my business. I also believe that lawyers who make a concerted effort to grow their personal brand, like an always-on-top individual ranking in Chambers or the Legal 500, will make significant gains both personally and professionally.
I’m starting from a fairly low position – we’ll see what happens next.
If you’d like to watch Stephen Moore’s branding journey unfold, please follow Stephen on LinkedIn and MLT Digital’s LinkedIn page.
Introducing the Your Law Firm Success Podcast. This podcast from MLT Digital, presented by Stephen Moore, explores the reasons for law firm success with those who have done it, are doing it or are helping law firms do it. Expect engaging discussions with leading lawyers, industry experts, consultants and suppliers, to uncover the levers of law firm success and build the law firm of your dreams.