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.