“When I see something I don’t see it for what it is. I see it for what it could be. When I see something, I see how it ends” Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, Narcos Mexico- Episode 10.
I have to confess I am something of a Narcos Nut. I binged watched the first three series and eagerly anticipated the new one. My anticipation heightened after spending a weekend at a family wedding in Merida, Mexico earlier this year, with the series star, Diego Luna, who just happens to be my first cousin. Released in the UK last Friday, it provided a focal point for my weekend. It doesn’t disappoint.
The narrative has real pace, the script is excellent, but one phrase in particular had a resonance.” When I see something I don’t see it for what it is. I see it for what it could be. When I see something, I see how it ends.” At DVC Consultants we create and consult to Disruptor, Disrupted and Challenger Brands. It is our job to help our clients see the enormous possibilities that exist for their business. To see where they could be, and where they could end.
We have a proprietary consulting process L.O.A.F (Leadership and Organisation in Anarchic Flux) for supporting our clients in being disruptors and challengers, rather than being on the receiving end of companies more innovative.
Challenger and disruptor brands succeed because they emerge from developments not properly observed by market incumbents. LOAF works because it builds on DVC’s expertise and experience in an eclectic and wide range of topics, including branding, economics, politics, government affairs consultancy and new technologies. This breadth allows us to help our clients in a number of ways:
Software is eating the world” (M. Andreessen) and “AI is the new electricity” (A. Ng) are two phrases that indicate the seismic impact technology is having on traditional business models. Blockchain, in particular has created a gateway to digital anarchy. It’s a catalyst that creates a new and a different world. It represents a technological breakthrough that can sweep into obsolescence just about every existing business model. How are you prepared for this?
Small, entrepreneurial companies don’t own disruption. A company of any size can disrupt.
Prepare to simultaneously defend your company’s position and exploit new markets created by new technologies and business models.
So, how can organisations develop a consistent and coherent view of how drivers will shape their markets and how disruptive technologies can contribute to their business in future?
DVC approaches this question for clients through a combination of scenario planning. Using our L.O.A.F process, we identify the key drivers and their implications on the relevant markets. Then, we create Technology Roadmaps to link together the technologies that can address new opportunities that emerge as new market needs arise.
How do you then rollout this transformation throughout your company? How do you begin to build stakeholder buy-in?
To drive disruption effectively within your business, you need to harness and promote discovery and imagination. You need to make reinvention top of mind for all your management. By getting them to buy into a Thought leadership process begins to make them part of this. We create programmes that promote innovative thinking and participation. Programmes that can be linked to KPIs and remuneration packages.
The success of any pay for performance system is contingent on the design and implementation of appropriate, measurable and balanced Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
A great deal of care needs to be taken to design KPIs and related incentives that reward Thought Leadership and Customer Engagement outcomes. Reinvention becomes a top priority for all management and employees.
We bring our expertise in designing Thought Leadership programmes for our clients. We help them make it core to their marketing strategies. We help them meaningfully contribute to the topics concerning their industries, often aiding in the research that will help do this. We help in establishing relevant and contextual dialogue with their stakeholders.
How can you get the message across?
Thought Leadership is the new battleground for B2B marketers fighting to differentiate their brand from the competition. By utilising new intellectual territory, a company can open up new commercial conversations. But in our experience companies see social media and Thought Leadership as both friend and foe.
As companies invest more money and time in both Thought Leadership and social media, they risk missing a great deal of potential benefit they can achieve by bringing the two together in an integrated way.
All too often, at least in our experience in the tech sector, marketers investing in Thought Leadership view social media primarily as a channel for disseminating content. They understand that social media is important, and that relying on traditional media channels (including email and websites) to promote their ideas is no longer enough. As such, they’re putting Thought Leadership content into blog posts, tweets, videos, and the like — and use the plethora of platforms to promote that content as widely as possible in the social sphere.
This all good, but we think it’s far too limited a view.
In fact, this is a more refined version of the same old one-way broadcast mentality. Wrap a cold towel around your head, confine yourself to a dark room and COGITATE! Do some research, produce a presentation or white paper, and then release it to the world and wait for the acclaim and customer/client inquiries to come rolling in. We did this very successfully at the end of the last century and early noughties.
“Going social” with content gives it a better chance of being seen, but a more collaborative approach to understanding stakeholder issues and creating new Points of View before even creating any content greatly raises the chances that stakeholders will actually be interested.
Socializing every aspect of the Thought Leadership process requires a more fundamental shift than just reformatting content and creating a longer checklist of places to publish. It means a fundamental sea change in attitudes. You have to abandon the thought that you own all the good thinking yourself, that you shouldn’t publish anything until it provides all the answers, and that Thought Leadership is about you talking and stakeholders listening. It is not, social media is all about listening, sharing and collaborating.
The reality is that a lot of great thinking and experience lies outside your company. Stakeholders want to collaborate in developing new approaches and solutions, and the best way to demonstrate expertise is to ask the right questions and facilitate ongoing conversation. The virtuous circle of social media and Thought Leadership includes five main elements, demonstrated below:
- Stakeholder and market insight: Tapping social media and networks to dig deeper (and often faster) into the issues your stakeholders and prospects really care about. You can access the many channels now available but can also build your own stakeholder communities to ensure a steady flow of insight.
- Collaborative POV: Don’t rely on a single expert or an internal team. Work with all stakeholders to craft a more relevant and compelling POV to underpin Thought Leadership content. Executive interviews, client roundtables, external working groups, academic and think tank partnerships can all be part of the thinking process, not simply vehicles to disseminate finished products. Social tools make these collaborations far easier and more affordable to manage.
- The best routes to market: This is the area marketers are already digging into, and with good reason. If you’re NOT taking advantage of social tools and networks to disseminate your Thought Leadership content, you’re missing an enormous opportunity to reach key stakeholders where they are increasingly spending their time searching for new ideas.
- Viral leverage: Your stakeholders and prospects trust independent experts far more than company spokespeople, and gaining their support is far more likely to trigger social media sharing than anything you do directly. Identifying and reaching out constructively to the new influencers in your markets (bloggers, analysts, community managers, etc.) is now essential to Thought Leadership success.
- Conversation and community: The old broadcast mode of Thought Leadership assumed a straight line from publication to customer inquiry to sales presentation. In a few cases of rare brilliance, this may even have occurred. In our vastly more networked world, stakeholders want to consider, analyse and debate your ideas at length — and often without you even being present. Inspiring, facilitating, and participating in the conversation is the right goal for Thought Leadership marketing, and using social platforms and communities is the best way to make this possible. It is also the best way to gain deep and ongoing stakeholder and market insight, which keeps the whole circle going.
How do you measure the success of your transformation strategy?
Utilising our proprietary processes and tools, we design programmes that;
- provide qualitative and quantitative data, based on online questionnaires and face to face interviews
- are bespoke to your company, brand and stakeholders
- create KPIs for all stakeholders which become an important management tool
- ensure a measurable and ongoing dialogue
- allows management to set the KPIs for employees delivering against clients expectations
- sets out the commercial and business objectives of the services you provide
- help in building brand awareness and managing your content marketing
Stakeholder Engagement is about fully understanding the current and future needs of all stakeholder engagement groups, regulators, shareholders, customers, community etc. and converting these into goals for the organisation.
How do we achieve this?
- Analysing past and/or organisational and market performance and trends.
- Consulting relevant bodies and personnel.
- Conducting face to face interviews at individual or focus group level to gain insight into ‘customer value’ or feedback.
- Developing Frameworks and competencies to continually understand stakeholder needs.
- Identifying key stakeholder groups and priorities in order to develop relevant stakeholder engagement and communication strategies and plans.
Why would you do this?
- Translate stakeholder needs into organisational goals and create the basis of effective strategy formation and strategy deployment.
- Provide for an ongoing measurement programme that metrics and KPIs can be set against
- Establish a framework for driving disruption to accelerate transformation throughout your organisation.