Welcome to the Influence &IMPACT email letter, and a big thanks for subscribing. I really appreciate it! Focus of this fortnightly communique is on building, in a thoughtful way, a personal brand that people recognise, respect and trust. How can we establish our public voice, build credibility for that voice, extend the reach of our voice, and finally, extract value from the recognition and reputation we build? We cover that, and a wee bit more. Onwards!

“Define your enemy.” —David Hieatt


Sunday, September 27, 2020 | Melbourne, Australia



I've enjoyed digging into David Hieatt's book Do Purpose: Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more. 

Hieatt built Howies into one of the most influential active sports brands in recent years. After selling it to Timberland, he co-founded the annual The Do Lectures, which was voted one of the top 10 ideas festivals in the world by The Guardian. More recently he started Hiut Denim in his home town of Cardigan. In short, the man's got serious cred!

In Do Purpose, Hieatt explains the importance of defining your enemy.

"It doesn't need to be another company," he writes.

"Maybe you need a bigger enemy than just another brand. It can be bad design. It can be time. It can be pollution. It can be ugliness. It can be bad service. It can be landfill. It can be complexity."

Hieatt surmises your enemy will become your purpose, your fuel when you're tired out. The thing that separates you from all the others.

Message coach and author of 3 Word Rebellion, Dr Michelle Mazur, thinks along similar lines, although she's more focused on the messaging side of things (obviously key to branding).

In an online presentation she gave this week (Five shifts to your brand message that capture hearts & minds while growing your business), Mazur explained the importance of creating a villain and a core message around change.

With a nod to Star Wars, Mazur said: "We need a Darth Vader for our messaging ... something to stand against."

One of the best ways to get people to notice you is to take a stand, she said - not just being controversial for the sake of it, but because you see something you think is wrong with your industry and you want to change it.

What is your enemy? Can you name a villain?


This app has blown my mind ... 

Let's face it, there is a lot of tech junk out there, but every now and then an app appears - you trial it, albeit with low expectations - and it blows your mind! 

As entrepreneurs, professional experts and business leaders, we need to plan. We research, we develop story hooks for content, we create social media schedules and lengthy to-do-lists; we strategise and familiarise, we map out stakeholders, sketch out marketing plans and gather ideas and insights. We plan team workflows, keynote presentations and customer journey maps. Shit we do a lot!

Enter Milanote. 

The blurb? Milanote is an easy-to-use tool to organize your ideas and projects into visual boards.

Some of you might be happy using a tool like Asana or Notion or Trello or a pared back app such as Workflowy. Or not. I've tried most of them but have been left underwhelmed. They are either as intuitive as a house brick, or they lack the exact features you need.

But mostly, I've found, they're as boring as batshit to use. I'm a visual thinker, and even though Trello tries to go down this path, I still find it pretty one-dimensional.

Milanote, on the other hand, is Trello on steroids. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you prefer to think visually and have a creative bent, you will love this app. Seriously!

Check out some Milanote inspiration here.


How to get more love from your LinkedIn updates

Sarah Mitchell and Dan Hatch run a copywriting and content company called Typeset. They put out a value-packed fortnightly newsletter called The Write Fit. In their recent issue, they zero in on LinkedIn.

Sarah has noticed a big change in how LinkedIn updates are being written and she’s giving advice on how to write your LinkedIn posts to get a) better organic reach more people to see it and b) engagement join in your discussions. N.B. Sarah's strikethroughs, not mine :)

Want to increase the appeal for your LinkedIn readers and appease the algorithm at the same time? Sarah outlines a number of ideas, here are some of them:

1) Start with a hook

2) Use a lot of white space 

3) Use symbols and emojis 

4) Tag people

5) Hashtags rule

6) End your post with a question

Sarah and Dan are the real deal.

Be like Sarah and Dan.

Read the article.

Subscribe to The Write Fit.


I've heard about 'parasocial relationships' twice in a week ... 

Up until this past week, I can't say I'd ever heard the word 'parasocial' used before (and if I did, I took no notice!). But then up it popped twice in quick succession - first in a conversation on a podcast I was listening to, and then again in this article by Keith Reynold Jennings on Mark Schaefer's excellent {grow} blog.

So now my attention was piqued!

I may not have known what parasocial meant, but as it turns out, I've been aware of the concept all along.

According to Reynolds, the concept of the parasocial relationship was coined by two sociologists in the 1950s during the explosion of television. It describes the one-way relationships people develop with those in the media, but don’t actually know in real life.

Parasocial relationships used to occur mainly with TV personalities, radio presenters and the like. Now, of course, the phenomenon is prevalent in the online world, with parasocial relationships occurring between individuals and their favorite YouTubers, bloggers, podcasters, social networking power users, and gamers.

According to Mark Schaefer, this is significant, because it no longer takes a Hollywood celebrity to make this intimate fan connection. A New York Times article proclaims 'Even Nobodies Have Fans Now.'

Schaefer writes: "One young man told me, I listen to your podcast and listen to your audiobooks. You’re literally in my head all the time — I feel like you’re my friend."

In a much smaller way, I've experienced it as well. You'd go to an event and someone would sidle up and tell you they've read your blog for ages and followed you on Twitter, and they feel like they know you. I've heard similar stories from podcasters, in particular. It feels a little weird if you're not used to it, but equally, it's a nice feeling to know there are people who like the content you put out, whether in written word, audio or video.

When you break it down, parasocial relationships are really about building familiarity and trust, using social media and online publishing platforms to establish and nurture an emotional connection with people.

Done strategically - with passion, purpose and genuine intent - building connection and an emotional bond with your core target audience can be a powerful way develop your personal  brand and your business (or cause, or issue). Over time, when you're ready to market your products and services, people will be more likely to take notice, because you've earned the right to pitch.

It's certainly a lot more effective than taking out an ad!


You have that power!

I like this, from Jonathan George - aka 'The Human Hitmaker' - from a chat we recorded for the REPUTATION REVOLUTION podcast.

"Now with social media being so huge, you've got to show up authentically. You've got to know who you are and just be real with people.

"And it doesn't matter if you're a college student, if you're a millennial who's hitting the workforce. If you are CEO, your personal brand, you have the power and the control of how people are going to digest you, how they're going to take you in. You have that power." 

You can check out the full interview (episode 160 - Unleash your rockstar personal brand) here.


This quote caught my attention

Creating knowledge without sharing it is elitism. 

Sharing knowledge without creating it is marketing. 

Creating knowledge for the purpose of sharing it is thought leadership.

― Adam Grant (via Twitter)


Hit “reply”

I'm excited to be writing to you in this format. Let’s keep it personal!  I encourage you to hit “reply” and let me know what’s on your mind:

  • Got any thoughts regarding the content I’ve just sent you? Let me hear it!
  • Have a question? Ping it through!
  • Got a recommendation for an article, podcast, video or person-to-follow that you’d like to share, bring it on :)


Thanks for reading! Until next time ...




Go forth and make an impact!

Trevor Young | PR Warrior | Level 22 / 120 Spencer Street, Melbourne
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