How are those New Year’s Resolutions holding up? These promises are usually aimed at bettering a part of ourselves as we start the year fresh and invigorated. However, if by now your resolutions are (like ours) but grains of dust in the wind, looking for change beyond yourself may be a way to make your wishes last longer.
The fashion for Reverse Resolutions focuses on doing something that benefits others – perhaps by giving to charity each month, volunteering or helping an elderly neighbour. These activities not only bring a positive impact to other people’s lives, they are likely to make us happier. We are social creatures who discover a sense of purpose through human interaction.
Companies can jump on this bandwagon, too, by engaging people and communities around you in a collaborative thought leadership programme that examines an issue or problem they care about. For, much like self-directed new year’s resolutions, thought leadership goals will likely go unmet if the process involves too much introspection. It is only when you open yourself up to other viewpoints and analyses that you reap the richest rewards.
Consider this: a video of a bank boss talking about the company’s mission, and the benefits of becoming a customer. If the bank has really good corporate messaging, and a charismatic CEO, the video may be interesting enough to employees and perhaps a few close competitors. But imagine instead a video that asks customers about their favourite local business (the gym, curry house or garden centre), layering the views of a global public in an authentic, diverse and vastly more accessible way, with content that also supports the banks strategy: to capture a wider share of the SME space.
Participants at our thought leadership workshops consistently share concerns voiced by senior executives that prevent them from collaborating on content. Some doubt others will be able to contribute much beyond what their own experts already know. Others are scared that asking someone else’s opinion will expose flaws in their argument or that they’ll give away valuable intellectual property in the process. Often, it just feels like too much hard work.
Collaboration does come with risk, of course. It is a process through which things happen that are outside our immediate control. You may discover an inconvenient truth that forces a change of plan. Perhaps someone does what you do, but better. Or key audiences aren’t really interested in the issue you’re exploring.
But uncovering breaks in your strategy, and learning something new along the way which may eventually lead to a better-informed position, can only be a good thing, no?
Whatever risks you feel are involved will be more than off-set by the benefits of sharing a problem, taking in new perspectives and working on solutions together – as many companies are beginning to realise. Collaboration stretches us intellectually and is a prime way to ensure the success of a campaign. It also feels good. The real risk is on the other side of the coin: by not collaborating with others, your content may fail to appeal to the people you most want to reach.
We’re not suggesting you collaborate with just anyone. Partners and collaborators should be carefully selected to include those who, like you, want to step into the unknown, get to the roots of a problem and help find solutions. Nor would we advocate sharing all of your secrets at once. Good thought leadership content inspires people to join the conversation, creating a long tail of opportunity to connect with your audiences for years to come.
Do get in touch to discuss ways to collaborate with partners, clients and customers to enrich your content at every stage in the thought leadership process.
Lao Lee and Jessie Nicholls
Trainee Consultant and Senior Consultant
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash