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Thought leadership is an increasingly important tactic to establish credibility and influence within an industry. These days, it’s practically a must for organisations to appoint a thought leader within their ranks. In the age of influencers and creators, thought leaders stand out as industry experts – authorities with proven calibre and expertise who can provide important insights that shape their respective fields.

What is a thought leader?

Often long-time industry stalwarts, thought leaders are visionaries who are fully committed to their industries and know their subject matter inside and out –– enough to gain a special kind of foresight that helps support and forward their industry. Thought leaders are some of the most effective kinds of influencers, as their prestige and reputation come with the ability to provide credible opinions on the issues that matter within their sector.; Industry insiders look up to their expertise and are always keen to connect with them and build long-lasting relationships.

Does my brand need thought leadership?

Thought leadership is essential to B2B public relations and corporate communications. During periods of uncertainty, such as a pandemic, an economic downturn, or even a major industry shift, thought leaders serve as an anchor for the industry, offering ideas and feedback on the best way to move forward. And at a time when brands ought to focus on creating long-term relationships instead of short-term gains, establishing trust and credibility is the order of the day – an element that thought leadership provides. It is one way to build your brand’s authority in the industry and deepen relationships.

Thought leaders do not simply parrot information that is available anywhere else. In order to become one, your experiences and credentials must vouch for your ability to provide unique perspectives on industry developments to educate audiences and give them some food for thought. These would be presented in interesting and compelling pieces — such as blog posts, video and podcast interviews, column pieces, as well as panel events and webinars.

These help you create a content marketing strategy that has an impact and provides value to those within your industry.

How to Become an Industry Thought Leader

Look within your ranks.

Your organisation does not need to stick to a single thought leader. Look for potential thought leaders within your ranks in order to mount a cohesive and widespread thought leadership campaign. Aside from demonstrating the range of talent within your organisation, different leaders may provide nuanced and different perspectives on your industry. Having a varied panel of thought leaders allows you to leverage their expertise and influence in other areas or sectors that are not given much attention. This lets you further cement your company or brand as credible industry experts.

Pitch opinion pieces with earned media.

The right public relations partners can help you connect with established media sources that your audience trusts. Seize the day on pressing issues that affect the industry by providing unique insights on these matters – what are perspectives that other organisations have not offered yet? These will help establish your insider knowledge and foresight. Once you’ve come across a fitting interview opportunity, engaging in media training with PR experts can help you establish a strong presence, learn how to give newsworthy soundbites, and avoid any communication missteps.

Establish a presence on social channels.

Almost everyone, whether clients or colleagues, is on social media –– and these channels are an effective way for you and your company’s leaders to connect with them and build your online reputation. Social platforms that focus on professional relations, such as LinkedIn, provide a key avenue to express your thoughts, share your company’s milestones, and widen your network for other potential opportunities.

Other popular social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, allow you to cross-post and establish cohesive social media messaging across different channels.

Take advantage of speaking opportunities.

Events and conferences provide further avenues for you to secure your reputation as a thought leader. Here, you can share powerful insights or nuggets of wisdom from personal anecdotes or experiences while strategically positioning your brand. Webinars and talks allow you to network with peers meaningfully and create potential business opportunities.

That said, while it may be tempting to say yes to every invite that comes your way, the quality and prestige of the event matter. Is this being organised by established or well-known figures or groups? Is the subject theme relevant to your business or industry at large? These factors must be considered in every potential engagement.

Shaping thought leaders do not happen overnight –– this requires careful planning and execution, tied together by key and consistent messaging. An experienced PR team can help you craft a cohesive and strategic thought leadership campaign that strengthens your brand’s positioning and helps you meet your goals.

With a high-value network of trusted partners across Singapore, Malaysia and the SEA region, Blue Totem Communications’ team of specialists can help you spark the right conversations, shape your messaging, and connect with the right media sources that serve as your gateway to emerging as a true thought leader within your industry. Get in touch with us at today.

Today, consumers are more powerful than ever. As digitalisation ramped up in recent years, people demand more from the brands they support and only want to patronise brands that share their values. In fact, according to a study by Bain, about 95% of Southeast Asian consumers are willing to pay more for brands that practise ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance).

To stay relevant with their consumers, brands need to rethink their public relations (PR) strategy and messaging.

At the heart of this strategy is consumer-centred messaging. You must be able to identify your consumers’ underlying needs and sentiments associated with your brand, and speak to those emotions through PR.

That said, it’s important to understand that consumer-centred messaging must be integrated throughout your brand’s PR efforts, and not just through a few social media posts.

Highlighting the value of your brand’s products or services is not enough. You must be able to identify the core values and principles to which your consumers align themselves the most, and speak to those sentiments. Here are six ways you can make consumers the centre of your brand:

Integrate empathy and compassion in your messages

Brands must acknowledge and understand the events that impact the community, or risk being tone-deaf. In a period where brand values matter to consumers more than ever, it is essential for brands to take on a humanised persona. Your key messages must not only be able to address your users’ concerns – they must also be able to demonstrate your ability to speak out on other issues or topics that are aligned with your brand’s values.

Focus on creating content that provides value

As we shift from short-term gains and move towards creating long-lasting relationships with audiences, creating content that provides added value for your consumers will help your brand gain trust and credibility. Striking strategic partnerships with the right media and influencer partners can even help you go the extra mile. For digital PR, influencer marketing and branded storytelling, creating collaborative content, or thought leadership pieces with reliable media sources, will help you earn that leverage.

Provide value in your content marketing strategy

One other way to communicate your shared values with consumers is through a content marketing strategy. Aside from keeping your brand top-of-mind for audiences, consistent and authentic messaging establishes what is important to your brand and the values that you stand for, creating genuine relationships and building trust.

Deliver memorable and engaging consumer experiences

Brands turn to PR and content to provide stronger and richer consumer experiences. Consider how your brand can offer more engaging touchpoints for audiences and provide real value to them.

One example of this is our work with Yahoo Mail –– through Yahoo Forever Memories, we reimagined their unique features of 1TB storage space and file organisation into a complete repository solution parents can use for children’s keepsakes. Targeting older digital natives who grew up with Yahoo in the ‘00s, many of whom are now parents, we launched a holistic, mostly organic strategy that included an influencer-led campaign, working with a select group of micro- and nano-influencer parents to inspire the target audience to explore this trend.

Open your social channels to consumers

People are stepping out more, but they continue to be highly digitally connected. Brands must capitalise on social media and other digital PR efforts. Shape your social media strategy to become more inclusive and open to consumers, with initiatives that shine the spotlight on them. Highlighting user-generated content shows that you listen to your audiences; re-sharing their images, or creating an “Ask us anything” campaign, brings the things consumers are more passionate about to the forefront. It also helps nurture your consumers into a community that believes in your brand and can vouch for it to others.

Build user communities that offer connection

Social media offers the widespread ability to connect –– and brands provide that touchpoint for shared interests. Seize the opportunity to create and build an online community that goes beyond blatant product promotion, but allows users from all over the country or region to connect with each other over shared qualities. Allowing authentic relationships to foster, even online, as well as providing an avenue for users to express their ideas openly can help grow customer loyalty and affinity.

Brands who shift the focus towards the consumer are poised to win. And as consumers continue to pick up digital-first habits, now is the time to leverage a PR strategy that can help spark these conversations and foster audience connections. The right PR agency can help you strategise your messages, partner with established media sources, and create authentic connections with the community.

Blue Totem Communications’ team of specialists proudly combines experience and a wide network of high-value partners across Singapore, Malaysia, and the SEA region, that can help you create a powerful and cohesive digital PR strategy that strikes rich and lasting relationships with your consumers. Get in touch with us at today.

New product or service along the way? One of the ways to create awareness for your latest campaign and ensure wide reach is through staging a media event. With the easing of restrictions in most of the world and the long-awaited return of in-person events, a media event is one of the quickest ways to meet and greet media contacts, strengthen media relations and spread the word about your campaign.

On top of that, as hybrid affairs continue to become the norm, public relations (PR) professionals and event planners have stretched their creativity beyond physical press conferences to include virtual media junkets and online launches.

Read more: How PR and Media Events Will Look Like in the New Normal

Why a Media Event is Important For Your Brand

A media event helps to achieve brand awareness and build trusted relationships with consumers, whether you are a newly founded start-up or an established company launching a new product. With events a dime a dozen each week, your event will need to stand out, create news value, and provide real opportunities for your target audience to connect with your offering.

But planning a press event goes beyond simply booking a venue (or setting up a Zoom link), and deciding on the date and time. Brands must be on the lookout for two things: the media turnout and post-event content.

Needless to say, every brand manager or PR executive wants a good turnout from the press. Yet, gauging your event’s success is not just about ticking off every name on the guest list. You want powerful, impactful post-event stories that effectively shape the conversation around your brand and its latest offering. And with the right PR agency, your brand can leverage the most high-value media partners that resonate with your audience.

While it’s one thing to worry about whether journalists will show up to your event, it’s another to think about whether they can sense an interesting story. If you have reserved a calendar date, booked your guest speakers, and prepared your media database, here are five other ways to ensure that your media event is a success.

Read more: How PR can help brands become a force for good in the new normal

5 Tips to Create a Successful Media Event

Come up with a story hook.

Put yourself in a journalist’s shoes. Your event must be able to answer the question, “How does this event coverage provide value to readers?” This can help you better plan the event’s theme and activities. You can also pitch irresistible story angles to reporters in advance when you send them a pre-event press release – either by assuring them of a scoop, or by promising more details during the actual event.

Send invites to the right outlets.

This goes without saying– not every media outfit is the right fit for your press event. It can be tempting to blast invites to as many media partners as possible to cast the widest net, but ultimately curating a media list provides the best payoff for your brand in terms of reach and impact. It is important to keep your audience as well as your brand’s relevance in mind. Curate your invite list based on how apt each outlet is for your target audience.

Make sure all logistical details are in place.

Once you have locked in your guest list, go over your event details and logistics a few more times. Better to be safe than sorry and avoid things going awry at the last minute. It is essential to secure a smooth experience for your media guests.

A checklist will always be helpful, and so is a detailed agenda for the event to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Plan a memorable press kit.

While a press release allows a journalist to easily file their article, a press kit is crucial in providing media partners with all the important information they need to know about your brand. It helps to have a creative press kit that enriches your guest’s experience and better shapes their story. For instance, you can go the extra mile by sending media members interactive press kits for online media events.

Offer creative story opportunities.

Following up with post-event releases is part and parcel of staging a media event. One way to make sure a newsworthy piece is featured is by providing creative opportunities for journalists for storytelling. These range from one-on-one interviews to exclusive sneak peeks, and interactive activities that capture press attention on the day itself.

Media events are an effective way to boost your PR campaign and maximise media exposure. Gain confidence in your event’s ability to spark meaningful conversations and impactful reach with the right PR partners. A PR firm with a trusted network of media partners and insightful experiences in communication strategy can help you craft compelling and relevant messages that capture your intended audience and strengthen your brand’s media relations.

Blue Totem Communications works with the most trusted media partners across Singapore, Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Our team of specialists can help your brand power its communication strategy and mount successful events that meet your brand’s goals. Get in touch with us at today!

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