Typically, when you go for some new business pitch one of the expectations laid out by the client is that they want a thought leadership position soon. I hope people realise that it takes time to build a thought leader. Several hours of hard work, mentoring and grooming needs to be done for one to attain the status of the thought leader. In other words, he becomes a voice of authority and his words carry a lot of weight in the industry. Here are my views as how one can achieve the position of a thought leader.
1. Expert in the subject: Someone who is an expert in his subject with deep understanding is very important. Should be able to add value and bring in some interesting and disruptive ideas to make a story stand out.
2. Experience matters: While knowledge is important but end of the day good amount of practical experience will bring in credibility to any quote or views expressed.
3. Authored articles: Should contribute articles from time to time on interesting topic which will help build credibility and visibility. If one is able to manage a blog and write constantly that will be a great advantage in further strengthening the credentials.
4. Seminar & Symposium: Try and be part of any seminar and use this platform to project yourself by speaking on topics that interest you. Keep exploring speaker opportunities.
5. Stay in touch with Media: Need to build relations with media by having coffee meetings to share your thoughts and views. Keep pumping media with the trends and happenings in your field of speciality for them to talk to you when there is a suitable opportunity.
6. Media Mentoring and Articulation: Media training and able to deliver one’s point of view very effectively is crucial. Hence if media training is important then that should be imparted to face the media and audience with confidence.
While these are some ways to get into the thought leadership position. One cannot self-proclaim that he or she is a thought leader. Over a period of time you need to establish your credentials and people should follow you and also think that you are bringing in value to whatever you are stating. So, it’s important to build your network and keep sharing your views on an ongoing basis.
– Ganapathy Vishwanathan
Ganapathy Viswanathan comes with over 3 decades of industry experience in Brand Communication, Public Relations & Digital Marketing. He has worked in diverse disciplines with several multinational advertising agencies like Ogilvy, Lowe and Mudra Group. On the Public Relations front, he was the General Manager Western region of 20:20 MSL, where he spearheaded the western region operations. In his last Senior role he was the Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Communication at Eureka Mobile Advertising a mobile engagement company in India head quartered in UK.
He can be reached on Twitter @ganeshmala.