• The day I was told my twitter DM was ‘crap’

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    25 Jul 2013
    Robert Caruso

    Robert Caruso: “Use twitter to engage not sell”

    I have a twitter account @thoughtstrategy which focuses solely on all things thought leadership and related stuff.  When I first have people follow me I typically used to send them a direct message telling them about the great, free ebooks on my blog with a link. And what’s more I even addressed each person with their first name – no automated responses from me.  That was until Robert Caruso, CEO of Bundle Post took umbrage to my approach and hauled me over the coals for spamming him.  So always curious to learn and improve the way I engage and do things I contacted Robert and we had as long as a conversation you can have in 140 characters about this.

    As a result of our twitter engagement I asked whether he would be prepared to be interviewed for this blog which he kindly accepted.

    If you want to learn more about Bundle Post and what they do, read Robert’s answer to question three.

    Anyway here’s what Robert had to say.

    1. What’s your philosophy about social media and how brands should be using it?

    I have many, but here is a formula we developed that always works when executed properly. Content leads to conversations. Conversations build relationships. Relationships results in ROI.

    2. Robert you didn’t like my approach to you on twitter and told me so even though it was a personalized not automated response – why and what lessons can you give to other twitter users?

    The circumstance was that we had just connected on Twitter and you sent a Direct Message (DM) pitching your book/article. That is direct marketing, not thought leadership or social media marketing. So I told you so.

    You would never do that to someone you just meet in real life, yet so many inappropriately do such pitching in social media. If you want to be effective in social media marketing you must first earn relationships. Once you have built relationships, then you have earned the right to pitch your stuff to them.  Just like in the real world…

    3. You are the CEO of Bundlepost, an automated content curation platform, why did you design it?

    Bundle Post is a social content management system. The only thing it automates is the back office. It does not automate posting to your feeds, but rather it helps you discover, hashtag, schedule and post relevant content, and infuse your repository marketing posts in a way that is 80% more efficient, effective and profitable.

    We were a social media agency. I recognized that we were spending the bulk of our time searching, finding, editing, scheduling, hashtagging and sharing content for clients, rather than building relationships, having conversations and driving ROI. This prompted me to design a tool for us internally. After 2 weeks, I knew everyone needed it and we would become a software company as we are today.

    Craig’s comment: Most of you who read this blog will know that I have a very strong view that you cannot be a thought leader merely by curating content. That said there is no doubt in my mind that clever curation or aggregation of content can be extremely useful to a brand in a variety of ways.

     4. How important is content for brands these days and how should it be shared via social media?

    For the average marketer it is really important, but probably not in the way you expect. If you are making your social media efforts about your target audience and NOT you, then you will need to understand what your audience is interested in and share that content. Your content creation will also have to take into account your audience interests over your own self-promotion. Failing to do one or both will result in a lot of disappointing results.

    5. What is your definition of a thought leader?

    Frankly, I try to stay clear of the term myself. It has become so overused and by many that lead with thoughts on things they have never really done, yet have generated a celebrity status within social media.  I truly believe that such terms will aid in the demise of social media, similar to the dot Bomb if we aren’t careful.

    6. Do you think purely curating content can make you a thought leader or do you think thought leadership requires something more and if so what?

    Purely curating content is not leading anything. Social media requires content creation AND sharing others content, not one or the other. Again, thought leadership doesn’t matter, revenue and results leadership does.

    7. Can you give any examples of great content used extremely well by a brand using social media?

    Honestly, I stay clear of big brands and their content/social media marketing. Why? Because most don’t do it properly and they don’t have to. They are leveraging millions of dollars already spent in branding and marketing. They ignore comments, don’t engage and build relationships. They use social as an additional push marketing platform, and they can. Everyone else must do it right.

    8.How will social media develop over the next five years?

    Content creation and sharing activity will double or triple over what the average user produces, shares and consumes today. This trend will continue escalating.

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He is the co-author of the award winning  #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book on thought leadership in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadershipJoin him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

     

  • How Jeff Bullas became a thought leader on social media – interview

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    20 Feb 2013

    Jeff Bullas picJeff Bullas is a thought leader on social media and online marketing.  I met with him last week and was struck at how focused he is on working with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and company presence through the use of social media and other web and mobile technologies. The thing with Jeff is he truly walks his talk:

    I asked him how he got there and what tips he had for aspiring thought leaders.

     

    Jeff over a period of 3-4 years you have positioned yourself as a thought leader in optimising content online and social media marketing strategies.  How did you do it and what tips can you give to other aspiring thought leaders out there?

     

    It started with a passion for social media when I saw its impact on people and on the web. I then decided to create a blog which I could write and create content about my observations of the potential, growth and my experiences of the social media revolution.

    The next stage involved building followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and sharing that content with them.

    So those are my 3 tips.

     

    • Build a presence online (blog) that is based on your passion
    • Create focused content that adds value to your readers
    • Build online tribes on social networks

     

    If you persist with these and are consistent then the magic happens.

    While we have a plethora of online platforms such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc you have a very strategic approach to these platforms and how content should be used online – what are some of the golden rules?

     

    The model I use is to own and build a personal brand with a blog that is self-hosted and has my own domain. I use WordPress as the platform for that. It is my online portal that I control. You operate it under your own terms and conditions and not Facebook’s or any other social network oligarch. I call it the “hub and outpost” model. The blog is the hub and the outposts are the social networks. Create and publish content at the hub and distribute it at the outposts.

    The social networks are just the ambassadors that crowd source the distribution and marketing of that content. In terms of what social networks to play on the answer is simple; focus on the social media platforms where your target audience hangs out.

    By the way I am on all of those platforms you mentioned as publishing to them doesn’t take much time.

    Many people focus on Facebook but I have found that a deliberate approach to Twitter will pay bigger dividends to get your message and content onto the web.

     

    What’s the best online thought leadership or content marketing campaign you’ve seen and why?

     

    The problem with social media and content marketing is that it is sometimes seen the same way as traditional marketing, which is very campaign driven. You move from one campaign to the next. Social media and content marketing should be viewed as “continuous” marketing. One piece of content and one tweet at a time. You build an online personal and thought leadership brand by the consistent creation of multi-media content.

     

    One great example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk who built a thought leadership brand around his knowledge of wine. He did this by creating a video blog 5 days a week on Wine and took the revenue from $3 million a year to $50 million.

     

    You consult and speak to companies around the world; what are the biggest barriers to corporations becoming great content generators or even thought leaders? What would your advice be to overcome these?

     

    The problem is that most companies are run by baby boomers who are still stuck in the paradigm of traditional marketing. They do not want to give away their ideas (content) as they see that as their “Intellectual property” or “IP”. That is a hard habit to overcome.

    You need to give away your content till it hurts.

     

    What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an aspirant content generator or someone who wants to become a thought leader in their space?

     

    You need to learn the how to write and create content that is easy to consume and read for the web. This includes writing great headlines, use plain and simple language (no acronyms please) and use subtitles and bullet points.

     

    From your personal experience what are some of the key benefits of a thought leadership position for an individual or a company?

     

    What I have experienced is that it opens up business opportunities globally. It also creates deeper ties and personal relationships that increase revenue.

     

    Oh yes, it also makes business much more fun.

    What’s the next big thing in the online world?

     

    The biggest change and next big thing is that the web is becoming more mobile as high speed wireless data networks spread and smart phones and tablets proliferate. Creating content that can be viewed anytime and anywhere that is easy to read or view is vital.

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He has consulted to companies small and large, listed and unlisted across Australia and South Africa about their communication strategies, corporate reputation and thought leadership.  He is the co-author of  #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership

    Join him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

  • 12 experts views on thought leadership – free e book

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    8 Jun 2012

    Hear what 12 experts have to say about thought leadership in this free thought leadership e book.  The experts include:  Bob Buday, Erica Klein, David Meerman Scott, Jeff Ernst, Rob Leavitt, Britton Manasco, Dana van den Heuvel, Matt Church, Fiona Czerniawska, Dale Bryce, Elizabeth Sosnow, Marte Semb Aasmundsen and me.  Click on this title to get your pdf copy  Challenges facing thought leadership in 2012 – the views from 12 experts

    If you would like another free ebook which covers a seven step methodology for arriving at a thought leadership positon, click here Seven steps to thought leadership – START IP eBook_

    Happy reading – if you enjoy these all I ask is that you tweet about them or backlink to this page – much appreciated.

    I’m a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications. Please check out my book: Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership, follow me on twitter @thoughtstrategy or join me on LinkedIn.

     

     

  • E&Y – thought leadership trend setters

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    31 May 2012

    When someone has been at the coalface of thought leadership for 15 years, worked with two of the global thought leadership giants, PwC and E&Y and they say they no longer want to send their thought leadership out but rather get CFOs to download it, you sit up and take notice.

    Merryn Stewart has been spearheading E&Y’s thought leadership efforts for four years following an 11 year stint at PwC.  Fifteen years later she is clearly invigorated by thought leadership and what it has done for the two brands.  Merryn has clearly been there and done that and she is now reinventing the thought leadership game based on her deep experience of what works and what doesn’t.

    Among others she is on a drive to cut back dramatically on the amount of content they publish and they are personalising it as much as possible.  She shared this and further insights with me and I hope I do them justice.

    Single-minded focus

    E&Y’s thought leadership has a single-minded focus on the C-Suite  It starts with their CFO Asia survey which examines, among others, what’s changed in their roles as a result of the markets and then does a deep and personal dive on issues such as what it’s like to be a CFO these days and deep down what they want to achieve.

    But this is merely a start. Merryn points out that their investment in reaching the C-Suite is centred on developing and sharing deep business perspectives focused on the C-Suite’s business issues and then pitched at the highest end.

    “The content and insights need to be such that they want to access the material rather than have it pushed down their throats,” says Merryn.

    Less is more

    Merryn’s deep thought leadership experience and research with clients has sent a clear message that not only are clients feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information they receive but there has also been duplication across practice areas.

    As a result, Merryn feels strongly that not only should you not be sending irrelevant content to your clients but that less content with more tailored, personalised insights is the way to go.

    Generates interaction and fosters relationships

    But she has one specific business objective with this new, tailored approach – it needs to facilitate one on one interaction with prospects and relationships with existing clients.  But not any client – for E&Y it’s the C-Suite.

    While Merryn is still striving for thought leadership nirvana – getting their C-Suite to download E&Y’s content rather than sending it to them – in the interim if something is sent it is via a personalised e mail from someone who knows the client and with specific messages for that individual.

    It’s a change management program not a marketing program

    For Merryn, thought leadership is about change management:  “McKinsey probably do thought leadership best.  It is part of their DNA.

    “It’s not yet firmly entrenched in our DNA and is probably a five year journey.  For me it is a change management program, one which gets all the parties to think differently about thought leadership,” she says.

    And clearly she is on the right track.  As yet I have not come across another business that launches an internal campaign on their thought leadership campaign five weeks before the external launch.

    But as Merryn points out this is critical.  This is the time she and her team direct people in terms of what they can do with it, how to use it and how they are going to launch it.  E&Y’s Business Development Leaders also host interactive sessions with partners and coach them on the key messages.

    Critically the thought leadership steering committee, which comprises senior representatives from all parts of the business, ensures that the thought leadership properties can be used across all practice areas.  Merryn points out that the cross practice approach and gaining buy-in from the practice areas is very important to the success of their thought leadership campaigns.

    Measurement

    ‘Return on Investment’ that magical phrase is constant work in progress for Merryn in terms of measuring the efficacy of their thought leadership campaigns.  Measurement tools are constantly being integrated into their various feedback systems.  One such example is their global client relationship management system where thought leadership is now being reflected in the pipeline section.

    E&Y also have reports defining the level of involvement from clients, the level of seniority, the type of people at the events, client feedback and the like all of which is aggregated into a report.

    Says Merryn:  “The input required from partners into the back end of these reports is quick and painless.  We didn’t want to create onerous reporting structures otherwise they would never have been filled in.”

    Conclusion

    Thought leadership is evolving.  Whether it is being led by the client or driven by leaders in thought leadership such as E&Y, Deloitte, McKinsey, Booz&Co, PwC and the like is not yet clear.

    One thing is clear though, it is increasingly sophisticated, more and more tailored to specific client relationships and their issues and it is becoming part of the DNA of more and more companies.

    In the ever competitive markets in which we work even those thought leadership doubters would have to question what these companies have seen that others haven’t.

    I’m a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications. Please check out my book: Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership, follow me on twitter @thoughtstrategy or join me on LinkedIn.

  • Booz & Co share their thought leadership insights

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    12 Apr 2012

    Barry Jaruzelski from Booz & Co shares his insights on their thought leadership program

    The Economist called the Global Innovation 1000 “the most comprehensive assessment of the relationship between R&D investment and corporate performance,” and
    Tom Peters praised it as a “provocative, research-based article that is
    sure to get you thinking.”

    I have long been an admirer of Booz&Co’s thought leadership work around their Innovation 1000 project.  For two years they were voted as generating the best thought leadership across all professional services firms according to Source for Consulting.

    So I took the liberty of approaching Barry Jaruzelski who heads up the program to ask him a few questions about it.  This is what he had to say:

    1. First off could you give a brief overview of Booz & Company’s Innovation thought leadership campaign?

    Every year since 2005, Booz & Company has conducted the Global Innovation 1000 study, which investigates the relationship between how much companies invest in R&D and their overall financial performance — and every year, we reinforce the core conclusion that there is no statistically significant correlation between the two.

    The study examines the R&D spending of the 1,000 largest public companies and also explores a particular “deep dive” topic on innovation.  The Innovation 1000 study serves as an umbrella for a range of other viewpoints, articles, and conference and
    university speaking engagements on innovation.

    We release the results in October of each year to the public via a press release, targeted media outreach and distribution to our client community.   In addition, at launch we conduct a series of webinars for our firm’s alumni, study participants, and clients.

    2. Please explain the business rationale behind Booz & Company’s focus on a thought leadership platform
    and why Innovation was chosen as a topic?

    As a firm, we have had a 60 plus year commitment to consulting on innovation, starting with a seminal article in 1950 in the Harvard Business Review which defined the concept of the Product Life Cycle for the first time.  We conduct a wide variety of engagements and research on product development process improvement, R&D strategy, engineering effectiveness, and innovation organization for a broad range of clients.

    Innovation is one of the eight core functional client service areas that we offer across our full range of industry groups.  The Innovation 1000 study is a conversation starter with senior executives and serves as an umbrella for a wide range of intellectual capital on various aspects of innovation.

    This study is important because it both builds our profile and builds our knowledge bank.

    3. What business objectives did you/do you put in place, how do you measure them and how is your thought leadership campaign delivering on these?

    In broad terms, we expect this study to achieve the following objectives:

    1)  Place Booz & Company in top tier business media worldwide  as a leader in innovation thinking and research.  In order to
    evaluate our campaign we track media coverage , social media mentions, traffic to booz.com and strategy-business.com .
    The study is cited each year in nearly 200 publications around the globe, spanning 27 countries.

    2)  Provide an effective vehicle to interest and engage clients and prospective clients. This is more difficult to track and measure, but we try to track the interest, leads and sales we generate that are directly and/or indirectly related to Innovation 1000.

    3)  Help secure  speaking engagements –  We track this in comparison to targets and the number of speaking engagements in prior years.

    4. How do you ensure audience relevance in what you are publishing / researching?

    Each year, we begin with a set of “candidate” subject focus areas which are discussed among a diverse set of partners and principals from various practice groups. The subject areas are debated for macro relevance, interest among clients and
    overall feasibility.  Every year we also discuss potential topics with clients and invite them to participate in the research via interviews on the “deep dive” topic.

    5. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your thought leadership over the past few years?

    We now spend much more time translating each piece of thought leadership into multiple formats to reach a wider variety of audiences more effectively.  This includes translating our ideas into multi-media, social media and media-friendly formats.

    There is such a barrage of information that our clients and audiences face that we have to work harder to stand out, attract attention and ensure our “big ideas” get heard. As well, while we still generate an incredibly extensive amount of IC, we are even more strategic about our focus areas and resource allocation. What hasn’t changed is our focus on thought leadership as a critical area of differentiation for our firm. The company White Space actually tracks the intellectual capital efforts of the consulting
    industry and it has has rated Booz & Company #1 in Thought Leadership for the past two consecutive years. This is an honor we are extremely proud to achieve.

    6. What have been some of the spinoffs of your focus on innovation?  These could be internal (within Booz & Company) or external.

    We have received invitations to write bylined or guest articles in other publications and to join advisory boards of clients and innovation-related associations (e.g. PDMA)

    7. Given your experience, what are some of the tips you can share in terms of arriving at and getting a thought
    leadership program off the ground?

    Build a smart and strong team that is consistently committed to “putting in the work” over a number of years to build name recognition and profile.

    Ensure that certain elements of your program are repeatable so you can scale and build success that you can recreate annually.  And perhaps most importantly, do not over reach and create a program that collapses under its own weight after just one year
    because it is too ambitious and demanding to sustain.

    Take the long view and build something that is sustainable and focused on quality.

    8. What have been the top three outcomes of Booz & Company’s thought leadership campaign?

    1)  Top Tier media coverage globally, client interest and engagements

    2)  Building a strong brand as a firm with proven expertise in innovation (from ideation to process to execution and everything in between)

    3) Being ranked as one of the top firms in innovation consulting

     

  • Books a critical thought leadership differentiator – interview Dr Liz Alexander

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    20 Mar 2012

    Dr Liz Alexander on books and thought leadership

    Liz you strongly advocate that thought leaders write a book but many are either too busy or would prefer the speaking circuit and consulting. What are the advantages of writing a book?

    There are many business advantages to writing a book but the one that’s most relevant to those aspiring to be thought leaders (or who want to keep their thinking up to par) has to do with the process, not the outcome.

    I like what Eric Maisel wrote in The Art of the Book Proposal: “Do not suppose that you are writing a book. Substitute a new thought: that you are thinking a book into existence.”

    The other week I met two consultants who had done some interesting research – but the findings weren’t of any practical value to their clients. They didn’t realize that until I pointed it out, amazingly enough. That single conversation gave them “aha” insights about their business and direction that they might not have realized if they hadn’t thought about writing a book.

    Sometimes I’ll challenge a prospective client to outline what they do that’s different and why I should care. And many can’t – or, at least, it’s more of a struggle for them than you’d expect. The book development process is a discipline that really helps the committed, serious business leader learn how to differentiate themselves.

    In fact, you’ll probably never thinker harder and deeper about your subject matter expertise – at least if you work with a serious publishing professional – than when you come to write a book. During that process I’ve seen many clients hit upon valuable ideas that never occurred to them before.

    Normally individuals write books but what would you to say to brands who are or who want to be thought leaders in their field?

    I’m probably going to tick off a lot of people, but my perspective is that brands have no business positioning themselves as thought leaders. One of the key characteristics of a thought leader is independence of thought – the fact that they are free to posit new directions and approaches unbounded by the constraints of marketing.

    I don’t know where this idea came from that brands and companies can be “thought leaders.” That certainly wasn’t the view of Joel Kurtzman when he coined the term back in 1994. My understanding was that his interview subjects were individuals, not brands. Unfortunately the term has become somewhat bastardized since then.

     

    What’s your advice to people who say they have an idea for a book? What steps should they take to set this in motion?

    I have a great deal of sympathy with the view that nothing counts unless it sells. It’s never about the book – certainly not for business leaders whom I call “little a” authors rather than the “big A” authors who want to write for a living. For someone in business it’s really about “What can this book do for me?” They’re really looking to showcase their subject matter expertise, to
    attract more business, and/or leave a legacy.

    Writing a book is a form of strategic communication, for which it’s important to ask yourself first:  “Why am I doing this?” and then articulate a clear goal, followed by the tactics that will lead you incrementally to achieving your goal. Knowing all of that helps you frame the right book for the right readership.

    As far as the specific steps involved, I outline seven of them here.

     

    Given your experience, what ingredients make for a successful book?

    The key ingredients for a successful book are, in my experience:

    a)   Being creative enough with your core expertise — maybe combining it with other, unexpected topics or having an unusual piece of research to share — so it’s not another yada yada, “heard it a hundred times before” book.

    b)   The ability to tell a darned good story.

    c)   A ready-made audience developed directly through previous writing and reputation (online or off), or indirectly through your relationships with key influencers – those people who are already having conversations with your target audience.

     

    These days it seems that there is a swing from the normal published book to cheaper, electronic versions or even shorter e books.  What’s your
    view?

    It’s horses for courses. There’s nothing that gets me more excited than when issues of Vanity Fair, and The Atlantic pop through my door. I’m assuming, since these magazines are still in existence, that others are like me and have no problem reading long (sometimes 7,000 words or more), beautifully written, and well-researched articles. So I don’t think “normal published books” are going away any time soon. For every person in the airport that I see glued to their eReaders, there are two or more who are reading a printed book they picked up from the bookstore.

    That’s not to say that ebooks don’t have their place. One of the projects I suggest to many business professionals who either don’t have the material or haven’t done sufficient thinking to write a full-length book, is to write an ebook “manifesto.”

    Really, it depends on how well you know your target market – essential for any aspiring, successful author – and what they’re looking for. If your market is Millennials then I’d probably suggest you stick to ebooks. But a business audience, in the main, is
    still open to physical books.

    I have countless ebooks stored on my hard-drive that I totally forget to look at. But I’m always scanning my bookshelves and gaining inspiration from books I may not have looked at in a while. And it’s much more impressive to send someone a signed copy of your latest business book than a hotlink!

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, news of the death of “traditional” books has been greatly exaggerated.

     

    There are many definitions of a thought leader, what’s yours?

    You know, I’m going to buck the trend here and say the concept of thought leadership doesn’t lend itself well to a definition. It’s a bit like beauty, in my opinion – except that thought leadership is in the mind, not the eye of the beholder J There is no universally
    accepted definition of beauty; similarly, I don’t think we should shackle thought leadership to being defined.

    I’m content to think of thought leaders in terms of the general characteristics they share. And Jeff Ernst did a spectacular job, in my view, outlining what these are:  Relevant in focus; Provocative in tone; Forward looking; Having a distinctive position and voice; Inspiring others to action; Results-driven; Ensuring their insights are actionable; Terrific storytellers; Credible.

     

    Content creation is key to sharing your thoughts with your audience, what advice do you give thought leaders on how they should go about planning this content?

     

    What a great question, Craig (as all of them have been)! As you say, it’s not just about creating content but creating shareable
    content that others are compelled to read and take action on. So there has to be an element of good writing ability involved. You can have the most amazing insights but if your communications are as dull as dishwater, who’s going to pay attention?

     

    Writing ability – which lies at the heart of creating compelling content – is like my dog (a very large black Labrador): it needs constant attention. Anyone aspiring to thought leadership or who simply wants to share superior content needs to spend the
    same, minimum amount of time every day to writing as they would do to walking their dog.

     

    Writing impacts thinking; thinking impacts writing. You can’t hope to be good at either without dedicating consistent, quiet time daily to these tasks. That’s why I feel so blessed to have a skill that will always be in demand; one I’ve honed and refined over 25 years. And it’s how creating content becomes quicker and easier – if you give it enough time and attention.

     

    Thank you so much  for the opportunity to share my thoughts (and writing) on your blog, Craig. It’s an honor to have been asked. J

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Cannings Corporate Communications in Sydney. 

    He is the author of Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership and the blog www.thoughtleadershipstrategy.net/ You can follow him on ttwitter @thoughtstrategy or join him on LinkedIn.

  • My views on thought leadership

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    13 Mar 2012

    I was fortunate to be interviewed by Dr Liz Alexander about my views on thought leadership.

    Liz is based in Austin, Texas and consults to individuals and businesses who want to write a book to position themselves as a thought leader.

    You can check out the full interview here:   http://drlizalexander.com/2012/03/thought-leadership-2-qa-with-craig-badings-of-canning-corporate-communications/

     

  • Thought Leadership e book – 12 Experts on the Thought Leadership Challenges of 2012

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    19 Jan 2012

    Two free ebooks on thought leadership

    Hi, I’ve got two great, free thought leadership e books for you.  I don’t even want your name – just go ahead and download them.  All I ask is that if you like them or feel they can add value to others please tweet about them or send your contacts a link to this page.  Thanks, I really appreciate it.

    1.  The first is an ebook with answers to four critical thought leadership questions for 2012 from 12 experts in this field.  The experts include:  Bob Buday, Erica Klein, David Meerman Scott, Jeff Ernst, Rob Leavitt, Britton Manasco, Dana van den Heuvel, Matt Church, Fiona Czerniawska, Dale Bryce, Elizabeth Sosnow, Marte Semb Aasmundsen and me.  Click on this title to get your pdf copy  Challenges facing thought leadership in 2012 – the views from 12 experts
    2. The second is a seven step methodology for arriving at a thought leadership positon.  It is taken from two chapters of my book: “Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership” which you can order by clicking on the Brand Stand book icon at the  top right of this page.  In the meantime, to download a pdf of the seven steps, click on this title  Seven steps to thought leadership – START IP eBook_

    Happy reading – I’d be delighted if you have any comments/thoughts for you to share them with me on twitter @thoughtstrategy, on this blog, via a mail cbadings@cannings.net.au or via Linked In.

    Yours in thought leadership.

    Craig Badings

     

     

  • 12 experts on the key thought leadership trends for 2012 – content curation

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    23 Dec 2011

     

    The overwhelming sense from these experts is that content curation alone does not lead to thought leadership

    I asked 12 people who I consider to be leading global commentators on thought leadership as well as a couple who have produced some amazing thought leadership programs in-house over the years to comment on four critical thought leadership questions for 2012.

    Inspired by their answers I couldn’t help chipping in with my own thoughts.

    As a result of the overwhelmingly positive response, I have split the interviews into four different posts – one post per question.

    In the New Year I will make available an e book containing all the answers.

    Interviewees include: Bob Buday, Erica Klein, David Meerman Scott, Jeff Ernst, Rob Leavitt, Britton Manasco, Dana van den Heuvel, Matt Church, Fiona Czerniawska, Dale Bryce, Elizabeth Sosnow, Marte Semb Aaasmundsen and me.

    This is the last post in the series and it covers their answers to question four:

    Question four: Can content curation alone turn an individual or company
    into a thought leader?

    Bob Buday, president of Bloom Group LLC, a firm that helps professional services and other B2B companies gain market leadership through thought leadership (http://www.bloomgroup.com)

    “No – especially if all you do is collect articles. There are tons of automated ways to do it without a human intermediary – Twitter feeds, Google alerts, etc.

    “At the very least, content curators need to provide more value to readers than simply identifying and collecting content on a topic. They need to explain why some piece of content is worth someone’s time – what new light it sheds.

    “Yet still, even if you add that kind of value – providing commentary on interesting content – playing the role of content curator doesn’t go far enough to demonstrate that you are a leading expert on a topic.

    “All to say there are no short cuts in becoming a thought leader.”

    Erica Klein, Thought Leadership Writer and Strategist Specializing in Financial and Technology Companies(http://www.ThoughtLeadershipWriter.com)

    “This may be totally self-serving on my part, but I think aggregating content marks a company as a “me too” provider and not a distinctive brand able to offer prospects and customers real, quantifiable value.

    “True thought leadership can do so much more for a company than round up content at the OK Corral!”

    Matt Church, founder of the Global Thought Leaders Movement and creator of the Million Dollar Expert Program. He is the author of 5 books including Thought Leaders and his latest Sell Your Thoughts (http://www.mattchurch.com)

    “In the next 36 months maybe.  But after that those who synthesise, aggregate and curate Thought Leadership will lose position. It’s about extending the conversations or contradicting them. This means you have to go beyond ‘here is a good idea’ and start to say ‘here is what I think about X idea’.

    “It’s about contribution and contradiction as ways of extending an idea.  A reader reads a book and goes ‘cool’, a curator reads an idea and goes ‘how can I share that?’ a Thought Leader reads an idea and goes ‘What do I think about that?’

    Elizabeth Sosnow, managing director of Bliss PR a business-to-business strategic public relations and marketing communications firm based in New York City (http://www.blisspr.com)

    “I love this question – it’s one I’ve debated myself.  I think the short answer is “yes,” but the long answer is “no.”

    “In the short term, curation is a way to signal to your audience that you understand industry trends and “what’s ahead.”  However, longer term, curation signals a “me, too” marketing posture.

    “True thought leadership requires differentiation to succeed, so curation just isn’t enough.”

    Jeff Ernst, is the Principal Analyst, serving CMO and Marketing Leadership Professionals at Forrester Research and is probably best described as a thought leader in B2B marketing and sales strategy(http://www.forrester.com/rb/analyst/jeff_ernst)

    “No, content curation alone is not enough to be a true thought leader.

    “For people to trust you to curate or filter content for them, they need to already view you as an authority and trust that you are able to filter through the noise to deliver the content that is most useful to them.

    “At minimum, as you curate content, you need to be providing your perspectives on the content you are delivering. But ideally, you need a steady stream of your own fresh ideas and perspectives, while using content curation to supplement that.”

    David Meerman Scott is one of the pre-eminent thought leaders on PR and marketing. He is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, seminar leader, and author of the #1 bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR (which has been published in 26 languages) and the Wall Street Journal bestseller Real-Time Marketing & PR. He recently launched his new online book: “Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage”. (http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/)

    “No.  While content that is interesting will be passed on, I am a perfect example as I tweet interesting content, however, some
    component of original content is important.

    “Content simply created by others is not nearly as valuable.”

    Dale Bryce is the group manager marketing for Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), a global strategic consulting, engineering and project delivery firm. He has been instrumental in their successful ‘client first’ thought leadership approach (http://www.skmconsulting.com/Home/)

    “Content curation is an essential ingredient in the overall mix that is thought leadership.

    “Great content needs to be relevant of course but it should act as a social lubricant for engagement with an audience. Ideally content is just the conversation starter; a catalyst to a real dialogue about how people might react and respond to the idea just placed on the metaphorical table. And from that first conversation, big things can come….!”

    Marte Semb Aasmundsen, graduated this month with her MSc Strategic Public Relations and Communications
    Management at The University of Stirling in the UK.  Her thesis was on thought leadership.

    “No, I don’t think so.

    “I think content curation may perhaps be a reason why critics are inveighing against thought leadership in the first place.

    “Of course it is a useful way of identifying and re-branding an issue. But I think the trend will be to move towards more sophisticated thought leadership initiatives. For that to happen, a thought leader must be authentic.

    “Authenticity, transparency and trust are values that will become even more important in the coming years.”

    Britton Manasco is the founder of Manasco Marketing Partners which specializes in creating thought leadership marketing and sales enablement solutions. Britton produces a thought leadership strategy blog Illuminating the Future and the executive journal, Elevation Quarterly. (http://www.brittonmanasco.com/)

    “Yes, but only if they are a skilled curator.

    “Among other things, I have billed myself as a “connoisseur of contrarians.” I seek out unexpected perspectives and provocative points of view. By tapping into their contrarian insights of others, I’m able to generate content for my clients that truly resonates with their customers.

    “I’m thrilled that I can get paid to do it.”

    Rob Leavitt is a B2B marketing strategist, specializing in issues-based marketing. He is currently Director of Thought Leadership at PTC, a $1 billion enterprise software firm. (http://www.reputationtorevenue.com/)

    “Definitely not.

    “Curation is useful both internally (for education and customer/competitive/market perspective) and externally (to build interest, traffic, and credibility) but it is no substitute for your own content and conversation that provide strong and different points of view.

    “I’m all for curation initiatives but strictly as a complement to your own more substantial research, publications, and presentations. Done well (which itself requires a great deal of work), curation can help you become a useful and valued resource for information and ideas, but if they are not your own ideas you are still not a thought leader.”

    Dana VanDen Heuvel is a marketing consultant, author and speaker. He is a recognized expert on blogging, podcasting, RSS, Internet communities and interactive marketing trends and best practices as well as thought leadership (http://www.marketingsavant.com/)

    “No, it can’t.

    “I’ve seen a lot of back and forth on Twitter this year about this, but at the end of the day, curation is helpful and even essential.

    “I often tell my clients that the best leaders don’t always have the answers, but they know where to get them, which is how the thought leader should approach curation.  Know where to get good content, know who to trust and know what your audience values but never think for a second that curation = thought leadership.

    “The Bloom Group has articulated, what I believe, to be one of the staples in thought leadership discipline with their “seven fundamentals of a thought leadership point of view”, which every would-be thought leader should use to check their work. Moreover, “novelty”, that is, saying something new about an issue and “validity”, having proof, are two of the most critical points of a thought leadership position.

    “Curation satisfies neither of those.”

    Craig Badings – author of this blog and the book “Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership”, and a consultant at Sydney-based Cannings Corporate Communications.

    “Find me one recognised thought leader who has attained their position as a result of curating content only.

    “If you can I will be convinced that content curation can create thought leaders.

    “The very nature of the term ’thought leadership’ implies original, creative or innovative thought.  In contrast, curating content implies that you are not the original generator of that content and therefore cannot claim to be a thought leader off the back of it.

    “That said, I believe that curated content can play a very important role in supporting and informing a thought leadership content program. Furthermore, if the person curating the content arrives at new ideas or insights as a result of that content then it could be construed as thought leadership.”

    Please download my free e book top right of this page. Follow me on twitter @thoughtstrategy and join me on LinkedIn.

     

  • 12 experts on the key thought leadership trends for 2012 – outcomes

    Thought leadership logo
    22 Dec 2011

    Thought leadership can deliver great outcomes

    I asked 12 people who I consider to be leading global commentators on thought leadership as well as a couple who have produced some amazing thought leadership programs in-house over the years to comment on four critical thought leadership questions for 2012.

    Inspired by their answers I couldn’t help chipping in with my own thoughts.

    As a result of the overwhelmingly positive response, I have split the interviews into four different posts – one post per question.

    In the New Year I will make available an e book containing all the answers.

    Interviewees include: Bob Buday, Erica Klein, David Meerman Scott, Jeff Ernst, Rob Leavitt, Britton Manasco, Dana van den Heuvel, Matt Church, Fiona Czerniawska, Dale Bryce, Elizabeth Sosnow, Marte Semb Aaasmundsen and me.

    This post covers their answers to question three:

    Question three: What are the top three outcomes of a thought leadership
    campaign?

     Bob Buday, president of Bloom Group LLC, a firm that helps professional services and other B2B companies gain market leadership through thought leadership (http://www.bloomgroup.com)

    “One, increased awareness by your target audience that your firm possesses some expertise and a higher number of inquiries about it .

    “Two, higher and faster close rates because of the ability to far better demonstrate to a prospect that you indeed do have the expertise you claim to have.

    “Three, higher fees because of the ability to differentiate your expertise, and thus higher and more profitable revenue from your work.”

    Erica Klein, Thought Leadership Writer and Strategist Specializing in Financial and Technology Companies(http://www.ThoughtLeadershipWriter.com)

    “For my financial and technology clients, the most sought-after outcomes are:

    “One, generating revenue from both new prospects and existing customers.

    “Two, building reputation and brand as insightful, innovative thinkers, and lest we forget, three, establishing
    the boss as a thought leader!”

    Matt Church, founder of the Global Thought Leaders Movement and creator of the Million Dollar Expert Program. He is the author of 5 books including Thought Leaders and his latest Sell Your Thoughts http://www.mattchurch.com)

    “One, talent retention, attraction and development.

    “Two, business growth through positioning activities in the marketplace.

    “Three, innovation around process and professional subject matter expertise.”

    Elizabeth Sosnow, managing director of Bliss PR a business-to-business strategic public relations and marketing communications firm based in New York City (http://www.blisspr.com)

    “One, new or deepened relationships with prospects or customers.

    “Two, better defined competitive positioning.

    “Three, holistic “glue” that integrates previously siloed marketing programs.”

    Jeff Ernst, is the Principal Analyst, serving CMO and Marketing Leadership Professionals at Forrester Research and is probably best described as a thought leader in B2B marketing and sales strategy (http://www.forrester.com/rb/analyst/jeff_ernst)

    “When you go from thinking of thought leadership as a campaign to thinking of it as a cornerstone of your go-to-market strategy, you can expect to have these outcomes:

    1. Customers, prospects, influencers, and competitors admire your company as having ground-breaking ideas and incredibly
      insightful POVs on the critical issues your buyers face.
    2. People who engage with your thought leadership ideas are so inspired they immediately share them with colleagues within their company and within their professional and social networks.
    3. Prospective customers knock on your door, already philosophically aligned with your company’s approach to solving their problems, ready to engage with your sales executives.”

    David Meerman Scott is one of the pre-eminent thought leaders on PR and marketing. He is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, seminar leader, and author of the #1 bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR (which has been published in 26 languages) and the Wall Street Journal bestseller Real-Time Marketing & PR. He recently launched his new online book: “Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage”. (http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/)

    “First, content will be shared if it is valuable.  People will share it on twitter, Facebook, blogs and the like with the result your content will reach far more people.

    “Second, people will subscribe to your content either whether that is via e mail, RSS feeds, etc.  They’ll want more if you do a good job.

    “Finally, it will brand your organisation as one worthy with which to do business.  People will seek you out if you’re smart about providing content that educates and helps them solve their problems.”

    Dale Bryce is the group manager marketing for Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), a global strategic consulting, engineering and project delivery firm. He has been instrumental in their successful ‘client first’ thought leadership approach (http://www.skmconsulting.com/Home/)

    “Client engagement, reputation building and winning the work you want to win.”

    Marte Semb Aasmundsen, graduated this month with her MSc Strategic Public Relations and Communications
    Management at The University of Stirling in the UK.  Her thesis was on thought leadership.

    “Building expertise and reputation internally and externally.  Changing industry standards and perhaps even drive paradigm shifts, and gaining influence and becoming industry leaders.

    “And I must add a fourth point; stakeholder engagement. Thought leadership encourages two-way communication and is therefore a great way to include stakeholders in the decision-making process.”

    Britton Manasco is the founder of Manasco Marketing Partners which specializes in creating thought leadership marketing and sales enablement solutions. Britton produces a thought leadership strategy blog Illuminating the Future and the executive journal, Elevation Quarterly. (http://www.brittonmanasco.com/)

    “That would be: customer awareness (as measured by marketing qualified leads); customer engagement (as measured by sales qualified leads); and customer commitment (as measured by closed deals).

    SiriusDecisions has done a good job of articulating the relevant metrics.”

    Rob Leavitt is a B2B marketing strategist, specializing in issues-based marketing. He is currently Director of Thought Leadership at PTC, a $1 billion enterprise software firm. (http://www.reputationtorevenue.com/)

    “Increased credibility with customers and market influencers (analysts, bloggers, media, etc.) that the company is an important voice on the issue; new relationships and opportunities with customers focused on forward thinking solutions; and increased internal support for a thought leadership-oriented approach to the market.”

    Fiona Czerniawska is one of the foremost global authorities on thought leadership, particularly in the management consultancy space. She is the co-founder of Source, a company specialising in researching the consulting industry (http://www.sourceforconsulting.com)

    “A client who, having read your article, acts on something in it.  This may be quite a small, apparently insignificant action (forwarding an email to a colleague) but all of our research indicates that any action increases the chance that the ideas in the article and the firm associated with them will be remembered.

    “A partner/consultant making a trip to see a client.  We tend to think that the outcomes of TL should be external, but there are huge benefits to articles/reports etc, which galvanize account managers and partners to visit their clients, taking the material with them and explaining to their client in person why it’s relevant to them.

    “The ability to own an issue.  Thought leadership should be good enough to ensure that, on a particular issue, your firm will always be on the shortlist because you’re seen as the pre-eminent experts in that field.”

    Dana VanDen Heuvel is a marketing consultant, author and speaker. He is a recognized expert on blogging, podcasting, RSS, Internet communities and interactive marketing trends and best practices as well as thought leadership (http://www.marketingsavant.com/)

    “I like to  refer back to my original “thought leadership marketing equation” and state that Share of Voice, Share of Mind and Share of Market are the key outcomes of any thought leadership campaign, but I have a few others that I believe are critical.

    1. “Marketplace momentum.  Thought leadership is cumulative where an advertising or promotions-centered approach is diminishing.  Pursuing the road of the thought leader, over time, builds tremendous momentum that can continue to propel an organization’s message long after the original piece of content was published.
    2. “Quicker cycle times. In our experience thought leadership actually helps the customer decide (as opposed to helps the organization sell) who is best for them based on the advance knowledge they can obtain about an organization and how they think, act and work via their content.
    3. “Category of One companies.  I’m a fan of Joe Calloway’s book “Becoming a Category of One” and I believe that the thought
      leadership approach allows an organization to tell a customer-centric story in a way that positions that organization as the only one telling that story and give that organization an opportunity to be seen as truly unique.”

    Craig Badings – author of this blog and the book “Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership”, and a consultant at Sydney-based Cannings Corporate Communications.

    “For me the most powerful is the emotional connection you forge with your client.

    “If, as a result of your thought leadership campaign, your clients or your target audience get a sense that you really get them and the issues they face and that you are helping them overcome these it leads to the second outcome – differentiation.

    “Your thought leadership needs to differentiate your brand from the competition.

    “Finally it should position you as the ‘go to’ expert in your field and with this comes that all important brand quality – trust.

    “I have created a list of 70+ thought leadership benefits here if you want to take a look.”

    Please download my free e book top right of this page. Follow me on twitter @thoughtstrategy and join me on LinkedIn.

     

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