On this episode of The Fix by Profile, Commercial Director Jordan Greenaway discusses with Multimedia Executive Ana Graça the importance and value of becoming a thought leader and how CEOs and company leaders can find their voice and set themselves apart.
Jordan and Ana break down the value of being a visible leader when bringing disruptive ideas to the market at a time when social media has made brands less trustworthy than individuals.
Jordan also advises founders and CEOs on how to become thought leaders in their fields. He discusses the three-step process; finding a compelling and unique thought leadership idea, translating that into multiple forms of high-quality content, and distributing the content creatively.
Ana Graça (A): Hi, welcome to the podcast. I'm Ana, I'm a Multimedia Producer here at Profile, and we're here with Jordan Greenaway, one of the directors at Profile. How are you?
Jordan Greenaway (J): I'm very well, Ana. Thank you for the time.
A: Thank you! So, today we're here to discuss personal PR. So, Jordan, why do founders need a profile and what are the benefits of having a profile?
J: If you're the founder of a business, generally, that means that you're bringing a new idea to market. You might be trying to disrupt furniture, or financial technology, or logistics. There's a whole different kind of range of sectors that you could be trying to disrupt, but usually you're bringing a new idea to market.
Now, when you're bringing a new idea to market, there's going to be resistance. You're telling people, we need to do this in a different way, maybe by leveraging technology or maybe just delivering it in a new way through a business model or marketing. And, because there's a resistance, there needs to be someone at the company who becomes a credible ambassador for the ideas behind the business.
Now, traditionally and historically, it's been the company's brand itself that gets out there and tells the rest of the market about the business. But over the last five to ten years, we've seen a strategic change in what people, consumers, partners, investors, trust. They're trusting brands a lot less, and they're trusting people a lot more.
Now, there are many reasons why this has taken place, but I think, probably, the emergence of social media has played a role in that. So, if you're bringing a new idea to market, the best way to communicate how you're different, but also to build trust amongst consumers, is for you, yourself, to get out there, on the front foot, and build your profile.
A: I totally agree. People connect with people, not with brands as much. And, what would be your recommendation for a founder that's just starting on this journey?
J: Thanks, Ana. And, actually, going back to what we just discussed then, as well, I think there is an instinct to feel, as you're kind of starting on this journey, that this is all kind of very nice, very woolly, and a little bit vague.
Actually, we have evidence to show that start-ups and businesses with visible leaders grow faster, hire better, and secure more investment. So, it's not just all nice words. This leads to real, tangible business results as well – and you can check that research out on our website.
But going back to the question, Ana, which is – what's the first thing I would recommend to a founder or a CEO who is starting on this journey. It will be very simple. Before you start posting on social media, pitching yourself to the media, doing videos, all of that type of good stuff, before you do that, work out what you're going to say and repeat it over and over and over again. Repetition is one of the most powerful ways to build a profile. So, you need to nail down what we call your thought leadership angle, or what your unique take on the market is. Don't start creating a scattergun of content before you've nailed it down. Sit down, work it out, put it on paper.
A: I completely agree. You definitely need to have a core message so, you know, when the public looks you up and your profile, they will know exactly what you stand for, what your beliefs are, and what your message is. Getting into more detail, what does a profile-raising campaign actually look like?
J: Great question, Ana, because it kind of dovetails with what we've just discussed, which is, after you've solidified that core idea, it's time to actually start creating content.
Now, I kind of split the next areas of activity into two phases. Firstly, it's creating the content itself. You've got this big idea, you think it's going to connect well with your market, now you have to translate it into high quality, good, engaging, compelling content. Usually, that's video content, podcast content like this, written content, might be white papers, might be research. There's a variety, there's a whole universe of different types of content. So, firstly, translate that idea into content, through storytelling, great words, great editorial, great video. That's phase number one.
Now, at the end of that process, one way to look at it, in the kind of digital world, is you'll have a big folder on your desktop that might say ‘content’, and you'll open it and there's loads of content in there. Now you need to get it out into the world. Now you need to get it out to the 1,000, 5,000 people who really matter to you. Now, there's lots of ways to do that, but the most obvious ways are social media campaigns and media campaigns; engaging the press, partnering with the press, pitching stories to the press.
But there are also other ways, and we've explored those internally as well – eventing, for example, maybe even writing a book. But the kind of core, top-level view is: now you've got the idea, create a blend of great content, quality over quantity, and then get it out into the world with campaigning.
A: I totally agree, and well, here at Profile, we are great at making content and great at publishing that content.
J: Thank you very much, Ana. It was great to talk with you today.
A: Thank you so much, Jordan, for being here today. If you want to find out more about the podcast, go to welcometoprofile.com
J: Thank you, Ana.
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