Build a blue-ocean brand

Mar 28, 2024
Build a blue-ocean brand

Find Your Superpower newsletter 052

Read time: 5 minutes

Topics covered: Branding, six-week LinkedIn bootcamp


When I first decided to become a media entrepreneur in late 2017, I didn’t realize how tough a life choice I had made.

I had few to no friends or mentors in the industry.

I had nearly no portfolio, and all I could say was, “Hey, I am a former university professor and I have a vision for science communication in the region. Would you give my team a chance and let us work with you on your marketing needs?”

Suffice to say, it was a rough time pitching for work and advertising dollars.

And I always felt like an imposter. Everyone I met had years of communications, public relations and journalistic experience. Those that didn’t had business, finance and management skills.

Even the GenZs had more experience than me.

In fact, because I had a PhD in biology and was trained to think and speak like an academic, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

By the way, don’t you think nobody ever used those weaknesses against me. Don’t you think nobody tried to discredit me by highlighting my lack of experience.

It was a very difficult time, and I still remember with gratitude the first handful of clients who gave me my big break.


A red-ocean brand

Little did I realize that my weakness could also become my strength... my very own superpower.

While everyone had very similar education and work backgrounds, hailing from big agencies and big brand-name firms, they also inevitably ended up thinking like and behaving like each other.

In my 12 years of running a magazine, first as a hobby then professionally, I saw many new media entrepreneurs enter red oceans such as breaking news and politics. They had "ex-<insert famous media outlet>" on their LinkedIn profile, and easily raised millions of dollars to do so. Most, if not all, of these titles are no longer running today.

To apply this concept of red-ocean branding to executive coaches on LinkedIn, I noticed that all the coaches were writing LinkedIn posts about coaching others. This clearly sounds like what they should be doing, given that they are ... ahem... a coach.

They would write corny and cringey listicle posts on topics like: “The three C’s you need to be a better leader: CONFIDENCE, CLARITY, COURAGE”, and promise to deliver those skills to their coaching client.

Thats what you expect a coach to do, right?

Which means that everyone is also doing that.

This is what we call a red-ocean strategy, which results in a very bloody ocean filled with executive coaches playing a zero-sum game and competing for essentially the same profile of clients: high-net-worth, high-performance senior executives looking to unlock a career promotion or make a career transition.

In a red ocean, everyone fights for scraps of food.

No wonder so many people have developed a scarcity mindset.


A blue-ocean brand

I read an article in Medium about a concept that I believe in greatly, which is you don't have to be the BEST at something to be successful.

Instead, it helps to be reasonably good at a bunch of complementary skills, a concept called “skill stacking” that was first popularized by Scott Adams.

What the article says is that there will always be someone working harder. There will always be someone with greater genetic gifts, or more luck, or more powerful friends, or all of the above.

But trying to be the best at one thing isn’t the smartest path to success. Instead, you should put your effort into mastering a combination of skills. It’s easier and more effective to be in the top 10% in several different skills — your “stack” — than it is to be in the top 1% in any one skill.

The best skills to choose are those that don’t tend to go together, but complement each other well. For example, scientists like me aren’t known to be great public speakers, so those who can speak decently have a huge professional advantage.

In my case, it was the combination of my left-brain skills that I had acquired over 15 years as an academic (analytical, strategic thinking, writing) with newly acquired right-brain skills (creativity, ambiguity and intuition) to run a team of creatives whose clients are mainly STEM trained.

I was a bunch of opposites in one person: a biologist turned media entrepreneur. An academic who wrote without jargon. A scientist who communicated with the general public.

All of those differences made me special, and I realized that I could turn my weaknesses into my superpower.

My unique background also allowed me to train executives differently from anything youve experienced before with a comms trainer. I dont just train them on branding or storytelling. I also train them on algorithm and data science, long-term planning, career strategy, reputation management, mindset work and often some really deep conversations about their unresolved trauma that is spilling into their LinkedIn posts.  

I also specialize in the niche of training STEM professionals... because I am one of them. I understand them, and I care for them.

As a LinkedIn coach, I have found my blue-ocean brand.

I swim alone.


 What is your blue-ocean brand? Let us help you find it!


I am delighted that Cohort 2 of my flagship Find Your Superpower LinkedIn bootcamp is now nearly full. We are admitting a few final registrations as we are nearly at capacity, and placing the rest on a waitlist.

I am also thrilled to finally reveal my three guest speakers who will be joining Amanda Cua and me during the bootcamp:

  • Chuen Chuen Yeo, LinkedIn Top Voice, leadership agility coach and the Founder of ACESENCE

  • James Cheo, LinkedIn Top Voice, Chief Investment Officer, Southeast Asia for Private Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC

  • Frank Koo, Asia Head of Talent & Learning Solutions at LinkedIn


During this six-week bootcamp, which will run from April 13 to May 24, you will receive:

  • Weekly on-demand video lectures

  • Weekly writing prompts and writing gyms

  • Live Q&A sessions with instructors

  • Fireside chats with VIP guest speakers

  • Access to our community circles for peer feedback and learning

  • Accountability and support from peers and two LinkedIn Top Voice instructors 

PS: registration is closing in 24 hours as the bootcamp is nearly at capacity. All registrations that cannot be accepted will be put on a waitlist.



Thanks for reading issue 052 of my weekly Find Your Superpower newsletter.

For those of you who are new to my newsletter, Find Your Superpower is subscribed to by 34,000+ people, and discusses the following three goals: (1) Making a career transition, (2) Professional branding on LinkedIn, and (3) Reinventing ourselves for the future of work.


Sign up for cohort 2 of the bootcamp now!

Register for Cohort 2 of my six-week LinkedIn bootcamp here.. Registrations are closing in a day or two!

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