Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

11 September 2009

Rishad Tobaccowala Talks Brand-Building, Damage Control and the Art of Seduction


At ad:tech Chicago last week, and prior to his opening talk, I approached Denuo CEO Rishad Tobaccowala in hopes of scoring an interview later on. He was in a hurry and answered in a way I found brusque and upsetting -- which ended up colouring my feelings about the keynote.

He emailed to apologize immediately after reading the article I wrote, and was also good enough to give me almost three hours of his time in an interview -- more of a conversation, really -- later that week.

We never did get around to a formal Q/A. But he taught me so much about branding and relationships that most of the gems would be lost if I didn't whip out the cam and start recording.

Four Things Your Brand Shares with Your Soulmate:

Second Chances at First Impressions, and Thinking Fast When Your Brand Gets Sullied:

This is the longest of the videos. At the start, Rishad gives advice on what leaders should do when traveling abroad to impart wisdom: Google yourself in the country to find out "who" you are to the inhabitants.

He also details how he approached remedying our first impression -- and why he plans to turn it into a case study for brands. For him, it was a colourful example of how marketers and clients need to resolve issues now: in real-time.

And I realized that there's an intuitive "ethic" associated with being a persuader (like a blogger). After he took action to ramify our awkward exchange, he consulted with his social media team to gauge how I might react. They gave him three possibilities; I did them all within 24 hours.

Rishad's Exercise for Building Your Personal Brand:

It sounds simple, but it's hard; I've spent two weeks trying to nail the first part. He also reveals his own results.

And that was that. Once we wrapped up, I crept around his house touching porcelain, glass and stone things that I probably shouldn't be touching. He was cool about it, and wrapped up our afternoon by showing me an amazing view of Chicago from his terrace.

It's incredible what kind of power comes with taking a bit of time to bandage a bruised user experience. Because today, whenever somebody says something about Rishad Tobaccowala, sunbeams and rainbows come shooting out of my face.

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