6 Jun 2011
It takes a brave firm and especially one the size of DuPont to dump their advertising and focus on content driven editorials and advertorials…and an even braver one to cede control of the message to a media outlet.
Only last month they announced they were trading in their TV spots for editorial content and advertorials. Their reason: to become a thought leader around global concerns like fuel, protection and food.
One of the ideas was a TV series, Horizons, documented by BBC World News. Essentially this is about how businesses, government and organisations are tackling macro issues around population growth.
DuPont’s thought leadership play
Du Pont’s director of strategic corporate communications, Erich Parker has said that it is a thought leadership play in which they hope to solve large issues collaboratively with intelligent, experienced people no matter where they’re from.
DuPont has a history of being brave. Once considered one of America’s worst polluters, it started a concerted focus on sustainability way back in 1989. They realised that while they were legally compliant, they had to go well beyond compliance to be successful in the eyes of their target audiences and the public.
Not surprisingly they didn’t achieve overnight success. But they put in a lot of hard work and importantly it was owned and driven from the top as a strategic business imperative. They even appointed a director of sustainable development.
The result is that today sustainability is part of very essence of the company and how it operates. Even their vision and mission statements have sustainability woven into the wording.
Their thought leadership is part of their culture
It is a classic case of thought leadership with a strategic business imperative becoming part of the culture of the organisation and infiltrating every level of the business.
And now they are breaking the mould again. I say good on them.
I’ve always maintained you have to be brave to be a thought leader. Large corporations are seldom good at this. They tend to lean heavily towards the risk aversion side of the spectrum. Of course there are exceptions. Du Pont is one.
You can check them out for more information here twitter at @DuPont_News and @DuPont_ability. Horizons is also on Facebook and Twitter at Facebook.com/horizonsTVseries, @horizonsbiz and @adamshaw_biz.
By the way I don’t work for DuPont – never have. I would love to hear from you if there are any other firms you know of who have taken a similar plunge. You can follow me on twitter @thoughtstrategy
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