Brands face many challenges on a daily basis. There are the internal challenges of scaling and developing new markets and remaining ‘on trend.’
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing brands in the coming 10 years will be the Thought Leadership challenge. Brands know that they must become Thought Leaders in their own space in order to survive – but how do they do that?
Let’s assume that they have the benefit of Mettacomms and have used our platform to identify the issues which are relevant to their particular audience. They know who the thought leaders are in this space currently and, more important, they have satisfied themselves that the trend will be around in the future, will still be relevant to their target audience, and they, naturally, want to own this space.
The first step is the most important
The very first step – the decision about what topic or issue they want to engage with – is crucial. If a brand gets that step wrong, everything else that follows is a waste of time, energy, money and market share. So, being certain that you have identified the right issue which resonates with your customers is critical.
Identify the Issue.
Let’s say that you have identified gender equality as the issue, now let’s look at how much money it will cost you and how much time, effort and energy you will invest, to make yourself a thought leader in that space.
Review Internal and External Policies and Practices.
You will begin by looking at your own organisation, internally, to make sure that your practices and policies encourage gender equality. You will look beyond that to see if you actually have gender equality at all levels of your organisation. If you don’t, you will establish the barriers that exist, and you will put policies in place to bring about the equality that you want to see.
You will then look to your suppliers and ensure that there are no gender dysfunctional practices happening along your supply chain. If you are going to be a genuine thought leader in this space, you need to make sure that you are not, through lack of due diligence, encouraging the very thing that you are standing against.
Key Questions about Brand Positioning
Then you need to look at how your brand can begin to position itself in that space. Some of the key questions you will ask, are:
- What can you start doing now that will make a difference?
- What Thought Leaders should you be engaging with?
- Is there research that you might commission that would add insights into the issue?
- What kind of events are you currently sponsoring?
- Should these now change and reflect a gender equal position?
- Will your position negatively impact on some of your sales regions?
- If so – how? Are you prepared for that?
- What pro-active steps can you take to not only encourage gender equality but to reward it and possibly spotlight those companies or organisations who are really setting the bar high for others to follow?
- Are there organisations that you should be joining? Or founding? Or leaving?
- Have you provided cultural and language training to staff, at all levels, so that, in their conversations with others, your staff reflect the equal status that they and you accord to each gender?
- How does that position intersect with other positions that you have taken in the past?
- Have you done a complete audit of previous statements?
- Can you stand over them or should you prepare to distance yourself from them?
Cost & Reward
The issues that you must tackle, as a brand, are deep, multi-layered, multi-faceted and ultimately, superbly rewarding if you get it right. But you must invest in your success, and it will take a number of years before you begin to be recognised as a Thought Leader in your space.
For a brand to be successful, the journey will take at least 5 years and may involve an expenditure of €/$/£ Millions. If you got it wrong at the first step………. it is all a waste. That’s what makes Mettacomms such a valuable tool for brands.