A well-established tradition when working on new business pitches is to conjure up innovative and extravagant activities to include in presentations – activities that we hope will showcase our capabilities and win clients. Creative stunts have proven to be popular in the past, with agencies priding themselves on their ability to overflow with ideas. By doing so, they hope that ‘thinking out of the box’ and incorporating novel concepts will secure that all important account.
However, these days, simply being creative isn’t enough. The ability to produce a stream of engaging concepts is no longer a prime consideration for clients. Instead, they are looking for angles that will mark them out as thought leaders. Ideas that mould into thought leadership for their brand are now the ones that translate into wins.
The most common definition that comes to mind with the term thought leadership is personal reputation management. It entails raising a profile to replicate success or expertise – either for an individual or an organisation – through activities that include interviews, speaking opportunities, blogs and authored feature articles.
Companies are fully aware that thought leadership is good for their corporate brand. They want to see how we – as an agency – understand exactly who their target audience is, who they are appealing to and how they can connect to them in a meaningful way. We have to demonstrate our ability to promote them as standing for something. We need to show how they can become acclaimed as an expert in a particular field. We need to point the way and reveal how they can inspire, trigger behaviour and ultimately create a movement.
What classifies as a movement? A movement is an act that is bold, distinctive and meaningful. It should be compelling enough to create sustainability. It should have a lasting effect that goes beyond first impressions. Above all, it must be of relevance to the brand creating it.
Movements travel online as well as offline, crossing cities, boundaries and cultures. And once the client is renowned for being the architect of a movement, so will be the agency that started it and pushed it forward. That’s how credibility is built and that’s what serves as a premium example of just how good a PR organisation is. Showing your ability to create something that you and the rest of the world can identify with is what gets your agency into pitches. And it’s what will help you win them too.