20 Jul 2009
Much has been said and written about how to get your thought leadership actions and thoughts to market. However, after reading on the topic for over 3 years I’ve yet to find a methodology which goes back one step and outlines how to go about discovering and prooftesting your thought leadership position.
That’s why I came up with START IP, a seven steps process to help you or your company arrive at a thought leadership concept which will ultimately deliver the consumer/target audience awareness you desire for your brand.
To me, START IP is the beginning of the thought leadership journey. While I cover this in far more detail in my book Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership, what follows is a quick overview:
- Scan the media and social media sites for issues impacting your brand, your sector or your specific area of expertise.
- Track your competitors’ share of voice to make sure you or your company is not competing in an already crowded space.
- Analyse and understand the ‘true north’ of the company in order to define better the thought leadership areas it can enter.
- Review your current intellectual property to see if it could spark a thought leadership campaign and review the alignment of your campaign with your company’s values.
- Trend spot and identify the forces which are likely to shape your audiences lives now and in the future.
- Identify a thought leadership champion to lead your campaign or maybe that’s you.
- Panel means appointing a panel of other thought leaders from different walks of live. They bring in fresh perspectives from outside the organization who will question your point of view and help make what you take to market a little bit more robust.
Putting this thought leadership process into action involves a real commitment by you, key leaders in your company and your team. Once you’ve identified what it is you want to be a thought leader in, the challenge is how to roll out your thought leadership campaign and, in the process, how to engage with your audiences authentically.
And here I need to stress ‘engage with’.
True thought leadership is not about sending messages to an audience, rather it is about sharing information and, in turn, listening to your audience. It is a conversation, not a broadcast.
Listening is something many companies have struggled with in the past, largely driven by the way traditional mass media worked. Your company placed an advertisement, sent out a press release and hoped that the demographic it wanted to reach would consume it.
Traditional media have been a wonderful top down communications vehicle and will continue to work for many brands or services.
However, the internet, and particularly Web 2.0 and the advent of social media is changing all of this rapidly – as businesses such as United Airlines, Dell, Wal-Mart, BP and other smaller brands, such as Kryptonite, have discovered.
So do your homework, run through the START IP process and then think strategically about how you are going to go about building your thought leadership position. If done properly, you’ll find the START IP process as well as the action of building your thought leadership position in the market as a truly meaningful, authentic way to engate with your stakeholders.
Good luck and let me know how you go.
By the way if you have anything to add to the START IP steps let me know, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you.
3 Responses to “Seven steps to thought leadership”
Leave a Reply