Starving children on street corners. Slums without adequate clean water and sanitation. Hopeless prospects for employment amid a growing youth population. Most of us are moved by the painful signs of poverty we see in low-income countries around the world. Though some progress has been made, more than 750 million still live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 per day. We all want to help. But hope isn’t a solution. And the smart, well-intentioned programs – along with billions of aid dollars – haven’t made a significant or lasting difference. There is a better way, argue innovation guru Clayton Christensen and his colleagues Karen Dillon and Efosa Ojomo, a global prosperity and development expert: if we consider the problem not through the lens of solving poverty, but through creating prosperity.

Christensen, a long-time client of Stern Strategy Group, Dillon and Ojomo put forward their powerful prescription for economic growth in “The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty” (HarperBusiness 2019) – and then partnered with us to share it with the world. Our approach went beyond the fundamentals of book marketing. Our “job to be done” wasn’t only launching a book, but also the thought leadership brand of one of its authors. Read on to learn how we succeeded in doing both.

Industry: Innovation
Service: Book Launch; Thought Leadership

Challenges

While Christensen is well known and highly regarded (and has numerous best-selling books, including his seminal title “The Innovator’s Dilemma”), he’s most associated with business innovation topics. The global development theme, though related to innovation, was new for him – and its media was also new territory for Stern. But the more significant challenge wasn’t our expertise or that of Christensen (his name alone would help pique interest and open doors to discussion; and our team’s deep knowledge and experience translates across industries and channels). It was the fact that Ojomo, a first-time author, didn’t yet have a widely established reputation or much, if any, experience with the complex world of media and publishing.

Our strategy needed to go beyond the fundamentals of book marketing to focus on building Ojomo’s thought leadership – and the credibility of everyone involved among new and distinct audience groups.

Our strategy needed to go beyond the fundamentals of book marketing to focus on building Ojomo’s thought leadership – and the credibility of everyone involved among new and distinct audiences.

Objectives:

  • Shift thinking about the solution to economic development: easing poverty is not the same as creating prosperity
  • Position the book as a new and indispensable resource; illustrate innovation as better than aid in creating lasting economic development
  • Build Ojomo’s thought leadership profile as a leading authority on global prosperity
  • Connect the authors with influencers for endorsements and partnership opportunities
Our Approach

First, we would apply the book’s solutions to the daunting, historical challenges of the developing world in ways that are relatable to those on the front lines of development and those who see related opportunity. Second, securing speaking opportunities, media exposure and influencer connections among general business and global development groups would be instrumental to our success. And third, we needed Ojomo to be comfortable – and effective – when writing for and talking with media and conference audiences, “in print” and on stage.

Results

“The Prosperity Paradox” was one of our more challenging – and triumphant – book launches. Our collective success extended well beyond book lists and media coverage (and we secured a significant number of both). Ojomo’s reputation as a trusted, articulate and persuasive expert on global prosperity, innovation and development is now well established. This is thanks in part to our team’s one-on-one coaching and counsel, but it’s also testament to his desire to be a thought leader and the credentials that now prove he is.