How To Become An Industry Figurehead

Businesses are quickly waking up to the value of a public figurehead. When a person or a company becomes renowned and respected for their expertise in their field or subject, then they understand their area of business deeply and are often rewarded for that knowledge. There are steps you can take to make this process quicker.

Not only will you be rewarded financially for it, but good leadership also increases your credibility and trust between your company and consumers. This is especially helpful during times of uncertainty. In this article I show you four ways you can promote your leadership, and the reasons why you should.


Become an expert

First, you need to zone in on your area of expertise. This will be simple if you already run a successful business. No one will trust the knowledge of a person from a company that isn’t at the top of their industry. If you are already a leader in your field, then you have taken an important first step. Expertise won’t be taken seriously if it isn’t coming from an expert.

Look at companies like PwC. They regularly publish surveys and reports which show they have their finger on the pulse of their industry. But they would not be taken seriously if they weren’t as successful as they are. So, make yourself useful to other companies and consumers alike. Once you have found your niche and defined your message, then it is time to start publicising it.

One way to show that you are an expert is to talk publicly about business philosophy or philanthropy. Plenty of entrepreneurs do this.  Andrew Dixon, founder of ARC InterCapital has spoken publicly about prison and taxation reform. Jeff Bezos famously banned PowerPoint presentations in Amazon meetings, favouring six-page memos instead and has laid out his reasons for this in detail. The founder of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, says that a chief tenet of her business philosophy is the importance of work-life balance. Social causes or highlighting employee welfare can definitely help you get noticed.

You not only need to create change and show that you are different to have an impact – but you also need to talk about it. Have your CEO do media tours and make keynote speeches talking about your company and its business philosophy. While we all have opinions and knowledge, this publicity will compel consumers to trust you and view you in a more positive light.


Stick to the program

It’s easy to get carried away after some good press. Don’t let this happen when you pick up speed. If you deviate from your message, you risk undoing all your hard work. Don’t dilute your message, otherwise you will confuse people. While being a jack of all trades might be useful in some aspects of business, it is not appropriate when trying to become a leading voice in your industry.

In this aspect, you must be laser focused. Consumers don’t want to hear a leading technology business suddenly start sticking their oar into a discussion about fashion, for example. This is true for all aspects of your business. If you don’t have a clearly defined message, then your business will lose sight of its goals.

Go deep instead of wide here. Some entrepreneurs or large companies can become leaders in several different industries, but these are usually long-established companies such as KPMG or Deloitte. The nature of their work and sheer scale allows them to dip into many aspects of different industries. For individuals, this is much more difficult. If you keep these steps in mind at the beginning of your journey, you will feel the benefits when you are no longer leading a SME, but instead a global corporation.


Look at what others are doing

Part of keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry you wish to be a figurehead in is keeping your eye on your competitors. Constantly be aware of what they’re doing. It may just give you the edge you need. If you’re not, this will result in you falling behind.

If you look at what your competitors are doing on social media, you can get a sense of the kinds of content your consumers engage with. Understanding how your competitors engage with their audience can give you a sense of direction for your own personal content strategy.

Content is king, and if you are trying to become an influential leader in your industry then this is more true than ever. If you experiment with your content, you might find a way of communicating this message to your audience in a better way than other players in your industry.

Avoid overexposure

As mentioned above, publicity is important. However, there is a limit before you start to experience diminishing returns. Don’t focus too much of your marketing on this aspect of your business.

Consumers can start to find advertising annoying if they see it too much. Instead of always putting your CEO in the limelight, focus on a variety of your executives who are experts in different areas. This will ensure people do not get sick of seeing them all the time.

Likewise, focus the message on the knowledge and the business, rather than the people who are in your business. While your employees can be your most important asset, this is one time when they should take a backseat. Take a leaf out of the books of the Big Four. They regularly publish insights into their industry, but often there is no name or face put on these.

You want your business to be considered the leading expert in the industry. So that you and your industry are synonymous. If you follow this advice, you won’t lose the efforts of all your hard work should your CEO ever move on to another company.

The primary benefit your company gains from promoting its leadership is credibility. It builds creativity within the business and builds trust between your company and the consumer.


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