Podcast hosts and newscasters have competition from an unexpected source. Deepinder Goyal, CEO & Founder, Zomato, was seen in an unlikely avatar of a talk show host this week. He had as his guest Massive Restaurants Founder and MD Zorawar Kalra in the first episode of his podcast-styled fun chat show “Breaking Bread”. The video conversation veered from topics such as trials and tribulations of the entrepreneurial journey to dancing.

Goyal is part of an increasing tribe of CEOs and Founders who are hosting their own podcasts or video talk shows on digital platforms – engaging, candid conversations with fellow entrepreneurs and CEOs in an informal setting that are grabbing big eyeballs

For instance, Bombay Shaving Company founder and CEO Shantanu Deshpande hosts a popular podcast “Barbershop with Shantanu”, CRED Founder Kunal Shah hosts “CRED Curious with Kunal Shah” and Manish Sharma Chairman, Panasonic Life Solutions India, hosts “Duologues”.

Personal branding

So why are business leaders grabbing the mike? Deshpande, whose show focuses on simplifying entrepreneurship, told businessline some months ago,“ My personal brand also adds to the brand equity of Bombay Shaving Company. And if the consumers relate to the founder they buy their products. Just like people buy Tesla because they like Elon Musk. Also I am passionate about entrepreneurship and want to share the learnings of my journey with everyone.”

Angel Investor and Business Strategist Lloyd Mathias said the modern day founder is very conscious of his/her personal branding. “ In this Shark Tank era, founders recognise that the visibility from podcasts and other such content has a positive rub-off effect on their start-ups in terms of valuations or simply popularising the products of the company,” he added.

Sharma pointed out it has almost become necessary for business leaders to maintain a “healthy social and online presence.” “During the pandemic, I saw a need for young professionals to get content which was motivational and inspiring and Duologues was my initiative to help bridge this gap. Since 2021, its been an exciting journey with close to 20 episodes with leaders across the spectrum sharing their life stories, purpose and challenges,” he added.

It also helps them stand out. Business and brand strategy specialist Harish Bijoor said that personal branding is sought to be a key tool to stand out from a “veritable clutter of founders and co-founders in the start-up ecosystem.” Podcasts, talk shows, speaking at industry events and writing industry-takes are all part of the personal branding kit in use, he added.

“They are following the eyeballs and are keen to be seen on the popular digital platforms. Most start-up CEOs are focused on sales and the next funding round. Personal branding and becoming a thought leader are just welcome side effects,” quips Jessie Paul, CEO, Paul Writer.