Interview with Andrew Chow, Author.

Today we have the huge pleasure of interviewing Andrew Chow, the author of Personal Branding 247!

Andrew Chow is known to be a pragmatic, forward-looking, competitive, intuitive and giving person. His character is evident in his personal branding as a successful social media and public relations strategist, entrepreneur and speaker.

As a global speaker, Andrew has conducted talks in more than 15 countries and was listed the Top 10 Most Influential Speaker in Singapore in 2013 by the Singapore Business Review. He served as the president of the Asia Professional Speakers Singapore and was conferred the coveted Spirit of Service Award by APSS. His talks cover topics ranging from personal branding, digital marketing, Enneagram profiling, to public relations. The avid traveller most recently held his solo photo art exhibition as a fund-raising event for a local charity—Teen Challenge—which he is a volunteer of.

WW: Hello Andrew! It is great to have you today! Thank you for your time.

Andrew: Thank you for having me, Wan Wei!

WW: Congratulations on your book! Can you tell us more about “Personal Branding 247”?

Andrew: Successful personal branding is the essence to turning Average Joe into Joe Extraordinaire. It is what makes you get noticed from the crowd. The way you dress, sound and behave for success—both online and online—will determine the perception others have of you.

To take charge of your personal branding is to differentiate yourself from your competitors. How do you rise above the run-of-the-mill? What is your unique value proposition? How do you identify and articulate it? How can you best leverage it? Personal Branding 247 has all the answers.

This book is written explicitly for entrepreneurs and business owners who are keen to gain recognition as experts in their respective fields, establish their reputation and credibility to advance their careers.

Personal Branding 247 is about you.

WW: How do you define “Personal branding”, and how is branding for a person different from branding for an object?

Andrew: Before I answer this, let me ask you a question. What is higher than branding?

WW: Haha, I’m not sure?

Andrew: The answer is actually a cult. 

Look at Apple today. Is it a cult?

You see, Apple today transcends branding. Whatever nonsense in future they will come up with—for instance, iPhone 8. You will want it. Even if you might find out that it is increasingly not as good as previous products. You just don’t really care.

So in my view, branding for a product is solely focusing on creating a connection with the people who are buying it.

So let’s define branding. Branding can be defined as “uniqueness made visible”. This means to say that there are two parts to it.

Firstly, you must have uniqueness. That’s your core and your substance. Then, you must also be visible (create the form to make yourself known) —because it really is useless when nobody knows about your substance. The form and the substance must both exist.

So personal branding to me is really about letting people know your values. Authenticity is the distance between your vision and your values. It is the connection between your vision and your values. It is matching your form with your substance.

For example, a lot of people love saying “This is my goal, this is what I want to achieve.” However, they do not have the values to bring them there—so it is purely talk.

Likewise, a lot of people have noble visions, such as wanting to help a lot of people, improving the world or living a good life. However, if they themselves are not mindful about being healthy, if they are not learning anything new or improving themselves, or not even spending time with family, then how are they going to make these visions happen?

WW: That is a really interesting connection—thank you so much for sharing! “Authenticity” is really an interesting concept; how can the public be so sure that they know the “authentic” you?

Andrew: Actually, this is where you can test how strong your personal brand is.

For example, if your personal brand is attacked when you are not in the room, check back if you have advocates to defend you.

Advocates are people in the same room who are so sure about your character that they will actually speak up for you. A person with a terrible personal brand will seldom have such advocates.

It is like a brand—when a brand is attacked, the brand ambassadors will always speak up on its behalf. You can’t speak first—if you do, it is only an indicator that the brand has no power of authenticity.

WW: Can you elaborate a bit more about the word “vision”?

Andrew: Sure. For example, if you are a blogger looking for a niche and decided that it would be “luxury travel”, then it might be wise to always look and play the part all the way.

You simply don’t dress shabbily and call yourself a luxury travel blogger. Similarly, you do not approach budget hotel or budget airline as sponsors for your travel. And if I don’t see you advising business or wealthy people on which luxurious places to go…then perhaps you are in the wrong niche.

So you have to be in that space or circle that you said you own. This is really known as the brand positioning.

For example, if my vision is “ I want to have a balanced lifestyle”, then my actions have to be in line with my vision. I cannot eat unhealthily, work all the time, not exercise, and still claim to have a balanced lifestyle, can I?

WW: One common misconception about personal branding is that it has to be perfect. What do you think about this?

Andrew: Frankly, for us speakers, I think it is important that the person on stage is the same as the person off stage.

Take myself for example. I’m definitely not a rar-rar or a loud person and even when I am on stage I try to have an authentic conversation with my audience.

Sometimes we meet speakers and find that they are two different person on stage and off-stage. When they are off-stage they don’t even speak to you, or are cold towards you. When they are on stage, they can be so motivational.

So it is not perfection that matters, but authenticity.

WW: Do you have any thoughts about millennials and personal branding?

Andrew: I don’t think many youths nowadays would consider themselves as “private”.

Young people these days tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves! For example, they can wake up and do a Boomerang.

And they don’t mind showing people their sleepy faces.

That’s unpolished authenticity. It’s raw but people like it.

WW: Haha, that is so true.

Andrew: Another thing about personal branding is that the world only rewards achievers; the world does not reward doers.

Therefore, on your linkedin account, always write achievements under your work experience, not your job scope or description .

You see, a lot of people sometimes wonder—“Why am I not promoted?” The line of logic is that they are so faithful, they always meet deadlines, they are responsible. So why can’t they get promoted sooner than those who are seemingly less responsible?

Yet, are all these attributes not rewarded? Very often in the corporate world, it is because they don’t know how to present well, or to draw attention to the positive aspects of themselves.

So, we observe that the people who get promoted are the people who know how to talk. It is the balance of efforts and results.

WW: Yes, I couldn’t agree more with that! Sometimes higher management is so busy that they can only trust what people say, instead of going back to check who is actually doing the actual work. People sometimes have no qualms about “stealing” credit.

Andrew: Yes, the world basically focuses a lot about “form” and not so much about “substance”. So yes, I would encourage the “doer” to also take a step back to work on his personal branding.

Focus on “achievements”, and not the “job scope”.

However, very often when we do take time to have a face-to-face talk with someone, we will realize quickly if people truly know what they are talking about.

WW: How do you tell?

Andrew: For instance, for a certain topic, many people would be talking about it in the same way like what you would have read in books. Ideas wise, they would just be quoting off or copying some other people and so on and so forth. There is no originality in their thoughts.

So you know, this guy has no substance. He is not a thought-leader. He is a thought-duplicator.

I say this in the modern context of content marketing as well. Let’s say you have a blog and you want to fill it with articles. That is simple—you can simply purchase articles online. However, you cannot purchase a piece of substance or originality.

Let me give you a scenario. There are some people who do not consider themselves as “influencers”. They don’t even consider themselves as people with strong personal brands. If you were to observe them closely, these people have very high likeability and strong social media engagement.

Then you ask yourself, “Why is this so”? Well, simply put, these people are original and have substance. So these are the people who are the real influencers.

It’s the substance that matters.

WW: Thank you for your time Andrew, and we wish you all the best with your book!

Andrew: Thank you for having me, Wan Wei!

We hope you have enjoyed today’s interview! Andrew can be found in all his social media platforms under the moniker @ideasandrew.

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Life is the Name. Transformation is the Game.

Gratitude and Resilience. They are two sides of the same coin.

Over the past half a century, I come to realize life is about having gratitude and resilience. We need gratitude for the all the big and small blessings in our lives. It can be meeting the right person, making the right decision at the right time or even a chance to spend time with ourselves.

We need resilience to help us weather the storms and trials in life. They are the events that shape who we are. Relationship builds Confidence. Resilience builds Character.

Psychological Barrier

When I was young, I had a serious stammering issue and I couldn’t communicate effectively with others. It persists until I was 18. My self-esteem was low. My interpersonal skills were below expectation. Finally, I overcame it overnight when I said to myself “Enough is Enough! I cannot live with this and no girl will like me!” Today I am a global speaker to 18 countries and counting over 4 continents. Gratitude and Resilience

Disruptive Career

Certain people had one career in the same industries for 20-30 years I did 5 completely different jobs or business over the last 32 years. I started off as a civil servant in 1987, joined the retail industry in 1993, migrated to MICE industry in 1999, became a matcher maker in 2005 and finally transformed to a speaker/trainer in 2010. Today I continue to encourage people to step out and make all the mistakes they can as early as possible. Learn fast, Develop faster. Life is the Name. Transformation is the Game. Gratitude and Resilience

Health Issue

In the middle of Nov 2018, I had a stroke while I was sleeping. My BP was over 200 when I checked in the hospital. My entire right hand was incapable of writing, signing and even typing. I walked with a slight limp. The cat scan reviewed I had massive bleeding in the brain, the doctor told me I will see a significant recovery in 6 months with constant physiotherapy. The warrior in me was awakened. I told my doctor I am a busy person and could only spare 1 month for recovery. He laughed at me and said miracles do happen. I went home and did all the exercises on my own. I learned to write all over again. My brain took over. I began to self-heal. 33 days later, after just the first medical review, my doctor said the magic words “You do not have to come back anymore”. When you have resilence and develop a strong mind, your body will fall in line and get ready for healing. We cannot stop negative things from happening in life but we can surely stop the negative reaction from within us.

Lesson in Life

Resilience is not about mind over body. It is the mind with the body. Resilience is a heat shield in our life. It is always something I wear consistently to be ready for whatever comes my way. We do not need to conquer the biggest giant in our life now, Just start with something small and manageable. What is something that you know you can do but you keep procrastinating? Be Ready to move. Be Resilience to get up after being punched. I can fall but I will still be fighting. Let’s do this! Gratitude and Resilience

Public Relations is just like Graffiti

Public Relations is just like Graffiti; you need a clear message to be effective and accepted.

Public Relations helps you build visibility, credibility and interest for you and your business. Many small business owners hope to generate buzz and media publicity, but feel intimidated or do not know where to begin.

his arises from the common misconception that media publicity is exclusive to companies with big budgets to employ corporate communications specialists or engage PR agencies. Everyone can produce graffiti; you just need the right training and a creative mind.

public relations 247

The truth is, regardless of the size of your company, you too can create media publicity once you master the art and science behind PR. It all starts with crafting an effective pitch, which is a combination of understanding your brand essence and adding a dose of creativity and flair. An insight into what is considerded newsworthy and what the media is looking out for will increase your odds of having a successful pitch and generating the publicity you and your business truly deserve. A graffiti can brighten a lonely tunnel.

PR should form part of your business’ overall sales and marketing strategy to help you uplift your brand image in the eyes of your stakeholders and the public.

public relations

“Public Relations 247” is written by entrepreneur for entrepreneurs and business owners in mind to impart the art and science of PR. Within this book, you will find the key to executing a successful strategic PR plan to bring your business to a new level. You will also find 50 tested-and-proven strategies for media pitching that will give you a head start in your PR campaign.

Be the best graffiti producer today!

Read Public Relations 247 for more information

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Negative Comments is a business opportunity

Develop a response strategy map for conversation Management

Negative Comments is a business opportunity on Social Media

Manage Social Media Negative Comments is an art.

For any business using social media for customer engagement, a response strategy map is a system of responses drawn up collectively by the entire organisation for implementation during engagement with their target audience on social media.

Broadly speaking, a response strategy focuses on the responses to any comments made by the public. It is an action map created so that everyone in the task force knows what to do, how to respond, who to activate during a crisis, and how to close the loop to manage the online conversation. It can be used for managing public relations and should be refined after every major media crisis.

Every company will have its individual response to inputs from users in the social media space. The template provided in this article can only serve as a guideline for your corporate response strategy.

Negative Comments

If you received something negative, always give priority to managing those who came from your fans. Negative feedback usually involves service quality, damaged product, customer service, delayed delivery, long unanswered phone calls to Helpdesk, wrong billing, etc. Whatever the complaints may be, they usually involve at least one department. This is the reason why your page should have one representative from each department to look out for comments related to his department and relay those concerns to his department swiftly.

Close the loop as soon as possible by activating service recovery. It could be as basic as getting on the phone with a disgruntled fan who is a loyal customer. Or it could involve getting the after-sales department to send a replacement down to the fan’s house. Whatever it takes to make a loyal fan happy, do it and show it. It will be the most rewarding social media publicity you can have for your brand.

What happens if the comments came from someone who is not your fan? Verify the content of his complaint. If it is valid, resolve it quickly by clarifying and notifying the department or staff mentioned in the comments.

Be humble and do all due diligence to check the validity of the complaint. If the complaint is not valid and you suspect the person may be out to create fear and confusion, you can choose to ignore those comments. You can even delete them after all the internal investigation is done. Censoring certain negative comments can be a house rule on your platform.

Do not engage in an open debate or discussion with anyone on your platform. Take it offline as much as possible. Remember that it is the end result you wish to show and not the process of how you arrive at the resolution.

If you are using the response strategy map as a tool to handle a crisis, there are two things to remember.

  • Social Media will not help you much if you have not built any goodwill among your customers or the public. A response strategy map yields little results if you have suffered too much bad press or bad-mouthing in the marketplace. A map is just a tool. It is not a magic wand for creating instant goodwill.
  • Remember that any social media fire must be put out by social media water. A local company once held a dinner and dance with a specific theme. Their staff posted photographs of the event on Facebook which are seen as disparaging to a certain ethnic group. The photographs created an uproar on social media and it went viral and the local press picked up the story. The company’s PR issued a statement stating that it was done in pure fun. However, that somehow made it even worse and it evolved into a full-blown discussion in the local newspaper’s forum. Thus, if the crisis began from social media, use social media to engage it, not public relations.

    A Negative comment anywhere is inevitable and is ever-present on social media. The art of persuasion lies in using negative comments to explain your brand more intimately to the detractors. Whenever there are comments, there will be conversations.

    Always remember that what is worse than negative comments is no comments at all. Think of your relationship as more than just responses. Draw up your own response strategy map (sample below) using your experience, internal standard operating procedure, and staff feedback. This may be a work-in-progress in the first year of embarking on social media strategy.


    Comments are conversational contributions from the online community. It is the right of everyone to share their thoughts; both positive and negative ones. All comments should be followed up appropriately to help the brand stay engaged with its customers.

    Bad customer service lessons every business can learn from

    5 Bad customer service lessons every business can learn from

    Bad Customer Service 1 – If you operate a fast-food business, beware of how you identify your customer on the receipt. All are thin; some are just thinner than the rest. We all know customer service is really about adding value and not insult to our customer’s experience with us. Pizza Hut will tell you more.


    Bad Customer Service 2 – If you own a retail business, beware of the choice of music you play at the stores. This is especially so if your target audience is ladies and of the new generation. Make sure you google the lyrics and match them to your brand. Forever 21 will tell you more.

    Customer Service 3 – If you are in the airline business, think twice before you switch to a new baggage handling agent or your customers will be switching to a new airline. Ensure you have sufficient time for new partners to get used to your airline. Delay leads to complaints; eventually, lead to a fewer bookings. Jetstar will tell you more.

    Customer Service 4 – If you are in the food court business, make sure you have less than 5 cockroaches. If you have 6, you are in big trouble. We all understand a totally pest-free business environment is almost impossible. Ensure your guys are always on the alert. Marina Bay Sands Food court will tell you more.

    Customer Service 5 – If you are in the telco business, ensure your hotline is diverted to anywhere but 999. hotline and emergency lines are quite different, it may be the same for you. Firstly, all hotlines must be answered within 5 rings. Next diversion is fine but make sure the diverted location is apt to answer hotline inquiries. M1 will tell you more.

    Content is King. Content Creation is the Crown

    Social Media content is King, and it is one of the most talking about and most misunderstood topic. Social Media Content is a strategy by itself. Social Media Content Marketing is just an application. In social media, content is king while social conversation is queen. Content is any valuable information which the user can benefit to increase their knowledge about your product without the call to buy anything. It is directly opposite of a typical campaign.

    if Content is King, what are the attributes of good social media content?

    • All good content must serve at least one of these 3 purposes: Educate, Entertain, Engage. Users today are spoilt for choices; they are better informed. They need quick knowledge with entertainment value and love to ask questions.
    • Content should make others come to you for update on a consistent basis. Users should love your content so much they share it with friends all the time to broaden your reach. The more people want your content, the more advocates you will have.
    • It is amazing how Twitter can survive for so long by just being concise, brief and direct. Everything can be and should be said under 140 characters. People short attention span from short information span especially the Generation Y.
    • Social Media is an inherently emotional platform. Great Content should make people feel, think and act. The more you are able to appeal to people’s emotion, the more connection you can create with the right audience.

    If content is king, how to produce great social media content?

    • For beginners, it is advisable to share what’s already on social media. You may research others’ original content which satisfies the 4 attributes and curate them for incremental sharing on your platforms. Some of the tools you can utilize are Pinterest, Flipboard, Scoop IT, IFTTT, and Pocket.
    • You can create content with other stakeholders like bloggers. They can blog about you with their own opinion. Of course you do not enjoy much control over the format and approach. You can also get the larger audience involved through crowdsourcing like crowdfunding, survey, opinion poll, etc. The insights of these crowdsourcing activities is a content by itself
    • Once you know your audience well, you can create your unique content through different medium. You can do 1-minute video, infographics, inspirational posters, quotes, niche event, soundcast, etc. It is not really the format or design, it is about thinking like a normal user and decide what is it in for me to receive these information.

    If content is king, the 10 most popular topics in Asia to create original content are:

    • Best Deals. Deals can be customized to certain audience and preference.
    • Country pride and Nationalism. Create something which makes people feel proud and inspired.
    • Be creative and link food to other related topic like health, personality, etc
    • Funny / Gag. Everyone enjoy a good laugh sometimes.
    • Generation Y. Invest in your future buyers by appealing to their sense of images, colour and language
    • How to make money online. Suggest ways to create multiple income streams.
    • Tips on relationship, rapport building and love is an evergreen topic.
    • Walk down the memory lane of different age group.
    • Parenting is always an interesting and challenging topic. Once you are good at it, you are out of job.
    • Private information / Gossips. Behind the scene and industry secrets are always addictive
    • Something new/ unusual and cool. It is acceptable to be a reporter once in a while to give your perspective of current affairs

    The strategic approach to content creation

    1. Select you audience. Different audience will resonate with different medium of content.
    2. Source for the most suitable platform. There is no one size fits all platform. Know where your audience are and position yourself
    3. Strategize the storyboard. There must be a theme and topics with work with. Be systematic and congruent.
    4. Schedule the content. Spread the content over a timeline over 3-6 months. Recycle them once in a while.
    5. Share them often. This requires your management, staff, customers, and partners to collaborate and share each other’s content.


    Content creation is hard work but the return is plentiful. When you can share knowledge unselfishly, people will buy your expertise willingly. It is a team effort and should include people who are not from your organization to participate in the process to ensure objectivity and maximum creativity.

    About the author:

    Andrew Chow is a passionate social media and public relations strategist, entrepreneur, speaker and author of Social Media 247 and Public Relations 247. Based in Singapore, his insights into social media strategy, public relations and entrepreneurship have made him a choice selection for workshops and speaking engagements across Asia, His mission is to educate professionals on how to leverage social channels for tangible results. Andrew’s career of 27 years; has seen him work with an array of clients including BBC, Abbot Medical Optics, Singtel and Sony Pictures.

    7 Relevant Skills of the Future of our Connected Economy

    What are the Skills of the Future? Our rapidly changing and the disruptive world is shaped by 5 emerging trends. We are faced with the Longevity of life, the flooding of smarter machines, the expanding new media ecosystem, and dynamic organisational structure which affects work-life integration and a globally connected world.

    To meet the challenges of the future in the next 5 years, we require the following 7 skills

    1.    Research and Analytical Skills. This is essential to make sense of the intelligence within Big Data collected to achieve competitive advantage in many industries, Making sense of unstructured information to draw vital clues for business survival is paramount to success.

    2.    Social Networking. It is about who we know and who knows us. Business Networking is still relevant but we need social networking for follow-up. It is a great source of learning and a sense of the trend in our society.

    3.    Multi-disciplinary Specialisation. It is no longer enough to be specialised in just one area or just to serve a micro-niche. Today we need to combine different disciplines and domain knowledge in order to satisfy more demanding customers.

    4.    Personal Branding. This is strictly speaking not a skill but a strategy in life to beat the competition and to be uniquely positioned for mindshare and credibility. Personal Branding enables a person to be seen, heard, and perceived in their respective career. It is the de facto X Factor in self-promotion.

    5.    Diversity Competency. Since we are globally connected, we need cultural sensitivity and diverse knowledge to work with people from all over the world. Different ideas and ways of life can enrich our understanding of the world and different customers in different regions.

    6.    Learnability. The discipline to keep learning something new every week is essential to the success of any working professional. The objective to learn from different sources is not to add knowledge but to accumulate wisdom to see new relationships and possibilities for development.

    7.    Design Thinking. Functionalities are no longer the main selling points of products and services. The design for a better look and feel together with the ergonomics of the products add to the brand's essence and identity. Functionalities are essential but product design is important.

    Skills and Knowledge will not change the life in the longer term. Attitude does. Be a learner for life. Teach whenever you learn quickly to internalise new skills and knowledge. The more natural you can do that daily, the more relevant you will be for the future economy. Learn the  Skills of the Future

    About the Author:

    Andrew Chow is known to be pragmatic, visionary, competitive, intuitive and giving

    While he is a successful social media and public relations strategist, entrepreneur and speaker based in Singapore, he is also the best-selling author of a highly popular series of books: Social Media 247, Public Relations 247 and Personal Branding 247

    Andrew has spoken in over 15 countries within 5 years and addressed more than 20,000 people on Digital Marketing, Personal Branding, Enneagram, Public Relations and Branding

    Andrew’s career of 30 years; has seen him work with an array of clients including AXA Insurance, Abbot Medical Optics, Singtel and Sony Pictures, M1, Starhub, and Sennheiser

    Andrew had more than 300 interviews and features about him or his business since 2005 from more than 40 local and regional media.

    He is listed as the Top 10 Most Influential Speaker in Singapore in 2013 by the Singapore Business Review. He won the Spirit of Enterprise in 2008 and the Successful Entrepreneur in 2010. Before he served as the President of the Asia Professional Speakers – Singapore (APSS), he also won the coveted Spirit of Service Award from the Industry.

    He loves travelling and held his solo Photo Art Exhibition for 3 days in Singapore to raise funds for a charity – Teen Challenge.

    Andrew is known by the moniker @ideasandrew in all his social media platforms.