By James Ralph, Senior Associate Director, Good Relations
Each morning I pass our local coffee shop on my way to the office and look out for their blackboard which has a daily quote. I only recently realised that the thoughts I walked into the office with were dependent on which route I chose. You see the blackboard has different ideas on each side, and so those approaching from the west are struck by a different thought than those approaching from the east.
This is an issue with much corporate thought leadership. Take a visit to any management consultancy website and you’ll find that dependent on the industry or practice area you are looking for, the content will be tailored to your needs.
Now while this is often intentional, and part of a customer centric marketing approach, we must appreciate the risks this strategy creates. Customer centric thought leadership often results in ideas becoming commodities, just look at the plethora of blockchain articles as evidence of this point. It also makes it tough to give each idea the rounded exposure and marketing support it requires to cut through. How many of your ideas get little further than a white paper and a few tweets?
Crucially in addressing customer wants rather than customer needs you are responding to, rather than leading the agenda. Is that really what you wanted your Thought Leadership to achieve?
So when you’re asked what your next big idea is, I’d like you to challenge back, that the big idea is the same, it’s the creative treatment that needs to differ. Coherence is a crucial element of effective thought leadership.