Building Your Brand. N-house 16/17 Sem 1.

For our third Wicked Wednesday event that was held last week, we invited two practitioners of brand management for a sharing on how to build one’s brand. We had Khyathi of Happy Marketer, an award-winning digital marketing agency, and Huey Yun of Xfers, an up-and-coming internet payment-processing startup, to share their views.

“One of the most common misconceptions about building your brand is that brand building and brand awareness are one and the same — they’re not,” so said Khyathi, when responding to the first question of the night: What are your first thoughts when building a brand? “Building is about identity, while awareness is about making sure that the brand is known. These are two separate things, and they arrive in phases.”

Added Huey Yun, who offered the perspective of a startup: “For early-stage startups, building a brand is more about building the product. It’s an active process of constantly giving the best customer support, having the best feedback — it’s about making customers love the product more, and maintaining relationships with the customers.”

As the sharing continued, Khyathi and Huey Yun took turns to share with us some of their day-to-day activities (sales meetings for Khyathi, legal and compliance meetings for Huey Yun due to Xfers’ payments business), some of their most creative campaigns (Khyathi: having cleaner aunties and uncles make a well-wishing video for computing students in NUS that went viral), strategies for increasing a customer base (Huey Yun: choose your aims and your target market; then choose marketing channels based on targets — Xfers targeted university orientation campers to use its service for collecting fees via links shared on social media), and more.

Please excuse the phone-users; they were merely posing questions on, which was used to collate questions from the crowd.

One of the more interesting questions from the night came from the crowd: How will you recommend building a brand when the industry it’s in has a negative stigma?

Khyathi: “I think that a brand shouldn’t hide— hiding never helps. My recommendation would be to face the reality, and own up to things. Being truthful helps.”

Huey Yun: “I think that no matter the industry, so long as you identify a pain-point faced by a group of people, and you target and solve it, you’ll be able reach them. In short, be focused in solving the pain-points of specific groups of people.”

A refreshing perspective from Khyathi in an age where “PR spin” is the norm, a technical take from Huey Yun in a time of mass disruption where startups of all kinds are popping up.

One final question before we wrapped up the night: “What’s one thing you wish you knew before you joined or built a company brand?”

Khyathi: “I wished I had read or experimented more. When you’re working, you’re usually doing so many things that you don’t see what you’re doing right or wrong.”

Huey Yun: “I agree. Prioritizing your tasks, that’s important. Only after joining Xfers did I realise that I had so many things to do. Also, negotiation skills. That’s important.”

When the event ended, the crowd then dispersed, with a few interested learners staying back to mingle with the speakers.

And that’s a wrap. Stay tuned for more updates for our Wicked Wednesday events.