20 Dec 2010
One of the best navigating lights for identifying your or your brand’s thought leadership position comes from one of the luminaries of the advertising world, David Ogilvy. While I have always been a strong advocate for PR leading the thought leadership charge I have to admit to being a bit of a thought leadership pirate i.e. I believe in stealing the best ideas no matter the discipline from which it originates.
There are some great marketing, advertising, social media, research, academic experts out there who know an awful lot about their subjects and who, in many cases, have superb insights into how thought leadership can work for a brand.
So when I saw Ogilvy’s bespoke ‘big ideaL’ concept, I quickly latched onto what I now call David Ogilvy’s greatest tip for thought leaders.
It’s all about helping you identify the thought leadership position you or your brand should take and while it sounds very simple, coming up with the answer can take a lot of soul searching to get it right.
The big ideaL’s premise is to simply ask yourself the question: X (your brand) believes the world would be a better place if…
I use a few examples courtesy of Ogilvy to illustrate this:
· Dove believes the world would be a better place if women were allowed to feel good about themselves. Now think about the Dove campaign for real beauty and how perfectly this is informed by their big ideaL
· Scrabble believes the world would be a better place if we loved words more
· Coca Cola believes the world would be a better place if we saw the glass half-full not half empty.
Ogilvy offices around the world have spent a lot of time and effort turning this principle into workshops and there is a lot of strategic thinking that goes into it. While I can’t do it any justice in this post, in summary the big ideaL is about having an interesting and attractive world-view, one which goes to the root of why the brand exists.
But Ogilvy is also very realistic about what it a big ideaL can achieve and as a result they are very clear that it is merely a starting point – one which won’t make your decisions for you but one which will help make better ones.
The same certainly applies to your thought leadership point of view which, if informed by the right big ideaL, will mean that you end up with a thought leadership position strongly aligned with the very essence of the brand.
Ideally your big ideaL should have some sort of higher purpose. So too should your thought leadership campaign, for it is these campaigns that capture the imagination and attention of your clients or prospects.
After all thought leadership is all about underpinning commercial outcomes and you want to get it right from the outset.
13 Dec 2010
Reading a white paper from PR Newswire entitled Marketing is Content, it struck me that content can be compared to the presents under a Christmas tree.
But imagine presents with no tree. Not quite the same is it?
And herein lies the crux of your content marketing. The tree is critical to your content, it represents the core theme i.e. your thought leadership position – it is the focal point around which your content should revolve and which gives your content a sense of direction and purpose.
And the decorations? They make the tree look attractive, think of them as the myriad of channels you have at your disposal to share your content with your market.
As a parent with two kids, my wife and I do our ‘research’ well before Christmas. We pretty much know their interests and then cunningly ascertain what they want and what’s hot in their lives. It’s a combination of knowing them well but also sense checking because what was hot six months ago is old hat today. Can you imagine their disappointment un-wrapping a handful of presents on the day that in no way reflects their interests or shows scant foresight of their environment, sex and age group? Perish the thought.
Likewise perish your brand if you attempt the same with the content you provide to your customers and your prospects.
Without a deep understanding of their sector and their business needs don’t waste your time and money. Moreover don’t waste their time with irrelevant content. Just because it’s content doesn’t mean it’s useful and just because it’s content doesn’t mean you are a thought leader.
Thought leading content is the stuff that really adds value to your customer’s lives, it’s content that positions you as the expert in that field. Best of all it’s content which keeps them coming back and which ultimately underpins the sale.
By now, give or take a few disappointments along the way my kids pretty much trust Father Christmas’ judgment. There is a strong brand promise and a level of excitement that the content under that tree meets if not exceeds their expectations. They’re happy ‘customers’ who keep coming back year after year.
And if we really get it right, guess what? They tell all their friends.
Remember, Christmas is not the same without the tree, the presents and the decorations. I haven’t even begun on the higher intent, the very raison d’etre of Christmas which I equate to your values and the way in which you do business and your guide as to how you relate to your customers and how you conduct business with them – but another time for that.
Merry Christmas everyone.
9 Dec 2010
I was interviewed by the Australian Businesswomen’s Network the other day on the topic of, you guessed it, thought leadership.
You can click here to listen http://tiny.cc/g9vsm