Own Your Industry - How to Position Yourself as an Expert, by Douglas Kruger, is claimed to be the first book published on our continent on the topic of becoming an industry expert by design. It launched in SA this April, and will be available as an e-book by May. (video)
Whether you are the brand-manager for a multi-national corporation, or the owner of a small business, the ideas in this book are aimed at helping you to position yourself as a thought-leader and teach the market to come to you as the only logical choice.
Here are Douglas Kruger's top five 'Own Your Industry' principles, which you can apply directly to your business and brand:
Create a unique signature
We mistakenly assume that qualifications will get us noticed in our industry. Qualifications are only 'entry' into a field; permission to play the game, and acquiring them only means that we are on the same level as every other player. Top industry experts understand that they need to create a visible splash beyond mere qualifications. Take the example of the architect who began constructing small, artistic gardens on the roofs of the homes that he built, and became famous and created demand as a result. Add a unique signature to your work to stand out by design. A little creativity will set you apart.
Lead a cause
Top brands don't just sell. They don't merely advertise. They also tell meaningful stories. Becoming the hero of a believing tribe means choosing a cause that you can champion, and electing yourself as its leader. Take the example of Dove, and their globally successful 'Real Beauty' campaign. What could you do to go beyond 'selling soap,' and become a meaningful voice leading a believing tribe?
Package your ideas with to a unique framework
Certainly, a good number of people around the world have heard the name 'Kiyosaki.' But a greater swathe of the total human population are familiar with 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad.' This 'construct' is Robert Kiyosaki's way of expressing his ideas, and the construct itself has become famous. 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' is another clever construct, recognised around the world.
Craft a simple, recognisable structure for expressing your messages, and your framework could become globally known. Use this powerful communication principle the next time you deliver a speech, write an article or grant a media interview. Consider writing a book with this formula.
Create a tipping point
Writing thought-leadership articles for industry publications is an excellent idea. But don't stop at one. Experts are constant producers. Over time, the collective weight of your thought-leadership contribution adds up. Be seen in all the right forums, giving ideas, providing value, positioning yourself as a thought-leader. The more you play the part of the guru, the more the people will start to follow. Ultimately, the media will start coming to you for insights. After that, the market will follow.
Imagine two schools competing in a neighbourhood. One has spent a great deal of money positioning itself as something high-end and special. It has a full Olympic-sized pool, media centres and more. The other doesn't. It is offering the bare minimum.
Wealthier clients will naturally migrate toward the better option, which means more money available for the good school. The cheap option will quickly go into a death-spiral, having attracted poorer buyers. Does your business have a pool? Be the premium option and you will attract the premium customers.
Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker and author of the books 'Own Your Industry - How to Position Yourself as an Expert,' and 'Relentlessly Relevant - 50 Ways to Innovate.' He helps brands to become the leading names in their industry through innovation and expert positioning. See him in action, or sign up for his free newsletter, at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Follow him on LinkedIn, or Twitter: @douglaskruger. Email:
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