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Organizations across industries seek to leverage their research, case studies and broader ideas to drive visibility and impact. We work with many such organizations whose goal is to create and disseminate a body of such thought leadership to establish expertise and attract clients or customers. At Stern we have long prided ourselves on being experts at thought leadership communications – but we also find ourselves having to communicate to potential partners the value of channeling that thought leadership through high-profile, cerebral individuals to truly make an impact on the intended audience. This is the essence of our executive visibility strategy expertise.

What Is Executive Visibility – And How Is It Different From Thought Leadership?

Executive visibility is what it sounds like: the presence of your company’s executives or other senior leaders and spokespeople on social platforms, in the media or at conferences. As a public relations concept, it’s distinct from but closely intertwined with thought leadership. Whereas we use the term “thought leadership” to refer to your company’s ideas, perspectives and research, we use the term “executive visibility strategy” to refer to the positioning of your spokespeople to discuss those ideas and build their own individual brands in support of the company’s position in competitive markets.

Thought leadership is the content, but executive visibility is the voice. Why is the distinction important? Because many organizations have a great body of thought leadership but struggle to get it out there without having those crucial voices.

How Can You Build and Execute an Executive Visibility Strategy?

Once you have thought leadership that you can point to as a company, you need to identify who the best spokespeople are to take it to your audience. This will always rely on the audience you’re trying to reach, but the common principle is that your chosen executives will be credible and able to communicate well. (This doesn’t necessarily exclude executives without classic charisma, it’s important to note. We frequently help partners with media training and content creation that builds up a spokesperson’s skills and image.)

Once executives are identified, you can execute your executive visibility strategy across several fronts:

  • Social Platforms: This is the best way to get executives out there while controlling the message. Have them consistently highlight key themes and valuable thought leadership to your audience, while expanding that audience through digital marketing strategies (something else that we can help with at Stern).
  • Media: Conduct outreach to key reporters and influencers who have sway with potential clients and customers. This is where thought leadership itself starts giving ground in importance to the ability of executives to communicate it well and form a rapport with the press.
  • Conferences: As with media, this is an area where the content you’re producing becomes as important in many ways as the people communicating it. You need executives to be out there on the conference circuit, not just saying interesting things but networking and forming relationships.

With all these platforms and tactics, the thought leadership is paramount but the focus on your people is crucial to success.

The Bottom Line: People – and Relationships – Matter

In an era of greater impersonality there’s a paradox: making a personal impression matters more, not less. This is the essence of any successful executive visibility strategy. No matter how great your thought leadership content, it will struggle to break through without the connections you make person-to-person.

At Stern, we can help you refine everything from the original ideas to the way they’re presented for maximum impact. Contact us to learn more.

From Thought Leadership to Executive Visibility Strategy: Why People Matter As Much as Ideas was last modified: October 12th, 2023 by Brian Sherry