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Entrepreneur Manjit Minhas of Dragons’ Den on Brand Image: Interview

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She is one of the most recognizable business executives in Canada and Manjit Minhas has worked hard at building her brand and her image through social media channels.

The co-founder and co-owner of Minhas Breweries, Distillery and Wineries and a Dragon on the popular Dragons’ Den CBC television show is a firm believer in the importance of social media in raising an executive and an entrepreneur’s profile.

“We all have not only talents and skills that we possess but things we all want to learn and I think social media is a great way to share that with people who might be inspired and find out about your journey and your story. They can actually find out more about you than just a basic fact,” said Minhas.

“It applies more and more with why and how people want to buy from a specific company or an individual because they actually know what their values and their mission is and who they are supporting and on the flip side who they are not supporting.

CBC Dragons' Den
Image: CBC Dragons’ Den

“I believe in transparency. That’s one of the great things about social media and branding. You can get your message across without having other news media filter it for you. It’s direct from you to your consumer. So I do think that there’s value in that and there’s value in somebody hearing your voice directly whether that be through social media or through your website.”

Minhas has won many awards during her career including: PROFIT magazine’s “Top Growth Entrepreneur”, Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs in Canada, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Chatelaine Magazine’s “Top Entrepreneur Woman of The Year 2011”, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of The Year Prairie Region and The Sikh Centennial Foundation Award 2015.

According to the profile of her on the CBC website, when Manjit Minhas was 19 years old, she and her brother Ravinder scraped together $10,000 to launch their first beer in Alberta. In 2006, they purchased the second-oldest brewery in the United States and renamed it “Minhas Craft Brewery.” At the time, this acquisition officially made the Minhas siblings the youngest brewery owners in the world.

“Their group of breweries is the ninth-largest in the world, and as a company they produce more than 120 beers, spirits, liqueurs and wines that ship all across Canada and the U.S., as well as overseas to 16 different countries. Minhas Brewery makes all of the Kirkland brand beer for Costco worldwide, as well as all the craft beers under the Trader Joe’s label in the U.S.,” says the profile.

Manjit Minhas
Image: Manjit Minhas

Minhas uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to get her message across to people. Each has its own purpose in targeting specific audiences. Some of the messages Minhas sends out personally. Others are by her team.

“There’s a combination. For sure there’s a strategy and a team that I have. It is very time consuming. I do have a team and we have a strategy and a plan of when and what we are talking about,” she says.

What is the image she wants to convey out there about who she is?

“That’s a tough one. Me, personally it’s not always wrapped up in the brand of the company. I am a young Indian woman in a very male dominated industry. It’s important for me for my audience to understand there’s a lot of different parts to any individual and we can all wear different hats,” she said.

“I’m always looking for people to understand my authentic voice. I don’t know everything. I’ve had failures. I’ve had successes but I do have some mottos I like to live by and sometimes I share those. I’m always just trying to show a side of my personality that you might not know if you saw me making a keynote address or after you saw me a night on TV.”

Minhas said it’s important that executives and owners of certain companies be the face of their company.

“I think it is important for people to be inspired by you, to learn from you. Even not only your current team members but your potential team members. It’s also a great way to find new opportunities whether it be other career paths, whether it be extra hobbies, whether it be new networks, whether it be boards for executives. Ways to reach out,” she said.

“I do absolutely believe in the power of individual and personal branding on social media. Now, of course, understanding like anything else there needs to be an overall strategy as to what you’re wanting to convey, why and when and who’s involved with that and the time that it will take. But I do completely 100 per cent believe it’s important.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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