Here’s an apocryphal story about ‘vision’. During the space race of the 1960s, a NASA employed road-sweeper was tending the rail path for the Apollo 11 rocket to reach its launch pad. He was asked what he was doing. ‘I’m putting men on the moon’, he replied.
Fast forward to 1984 and Steve Jobs is proclaiming that ‘the world will never be the same’ with the introduction of the iMac personal computer.
THE IMPORTANCE OF VISION AND THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Vision can be a powerful marketing asset when it’s developed and applied properly. On the other hand, an apparent lack of corporate vision and brand positioning can create a vacuum for competitors to fill with their own thought leadership. But vision is not necessarily about establishing a thought leadership position that few have seen before. It’s about painting a picture of an aspirational and positive future.
For a technology marketer, vision has to be more than a strapline or a cut and paste copy block from brand guidelines. With extended influencing and decision making groups amongst customers and prospects, the vision for a technology proposition has to pass through several lenses. It can’t be blurred or so distant it can’t be seen. And it has to be focussed on customer needs and aspirations. An effective vision or thought leading view of a tech marketing future has the power create a positive glow around a product or service.
MAKING THOUGHT LEADERSHIP WORK HARDER
Once the vision or thought leadership notion is articulated it should permeate all content assets – from product sheets to high-level presentations – and everything else between. So instead of leaving the vision itself in a vacuum, it becomes credible, useable and attainable. In short, it becomes the glue that holds technology, service and brand propositions together.
The most successful examples of thought leadership promotion not only stimulate brand enthusiasm but can also create expectation and anticipation in the customer’s mind. Think of the zeal of early-adopters queueing overnight outside Apple stores.
If it’s a disruptive vision or thought leading position it needs careful articulation. People don’t buy disruption, they buy what’s best or better.
A message elevator can help to establish a vision or thought leadership that’s credible and supported by a portfolio of technology propositions capable of helping customers to achieve that vision. The vision itself can be elevated or grounded. It can be universal, or tailored to a vertical market. And if the idea of communicating a vision sounds awkward or even pretentious, you only have to remember that successful technology either begins with a vision, or aligns with a vision as market success grows.
Take a look at our quick guide to discover how content can be more ‘killer’ and less ‘filler’