JUL 20, 2017
How Societal Trends Have Changed an Insulated Industry
(Originally appeared in the July 20, 2017 'Across the Board'
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For some, the simple term 'Board of Directors' conjures up thoughts of dimly lit conference rooms, wafting cigar smoke and discussions of director's escapades not even remotely representing business situations. As entertaining as these thoughts may be, this is far from today's reality of the operations and expectations of Board accountability in both the public and private sectors. Today's Boards have multiple additional pressures to which the scale could not have been predicted even 15 years ago - to name a few, regulation, technology advances, cybersecurity, activism, market change acceleration and globalization have all played a role in these paradigm shifts... but how do capable Board Directors or Board Advisors proactively establish themselves in an industry of changing roles, increased responsibilities and deeper demand for Board discipline? The individual and formal marketing of these Board skillsets has drastically changed.. and it all happened in an extremely short amount of time.
The old-school approaches to Board Director marketing no longer tell the full story
Most industries adopt new marketing and technology trends immediately at their introduction in their incessant race for market share. The major societal trends of social media, content & inbound marketing and influencer marketing are proof of the success and relevance of these approaches for most industries. But the Board Directorship vertical as a whole was slow to adopt these approaches in what was seen by many as a stigma in the stuffier Board arena. Now, this gap has increasingly been filled by many individuals standing out in this vertical. The fact is, with the prevalence of readily available data today, you might as well control your own content. And with that belief, the flood gates have opened for Board Directors and Board Advisors to show their goods.
Agreed that for public company Board candidates the actual placement is still typically done through board search companies, but what is different is that both public and private Board Directors have adopted a much different individual stance on how to propagate their name within the industry – which can include a creative marketing strategy coupled with intriguing and informative content campaigns. Essentially 'teaching' what they know in the covert 'sale' of their expertise. Ross Lauder, Sales and Strategy Director at Get Focused On Marketing states, "Today there has been a significant paradigm shift in the way board leadership is sought out and validated through what is considered inbound self-marketing. Self-promotion at the board level is no longer vanity, in some cases it’s expected! Traditionally, the country club locker room and old boys network were the main way connections were made in this industry... now the locker room is global and it opens the door to more diverse opportunity."
The world of Board Director marketing is quickly catching up with the information age in its usage of once taboo marketing mechanisms
"How people market themselves for board roles has been significantly impacted by technology," states Alyssa Gelbard, President of Resume Strategists Inc. "Personal branding and marketing is the new normal, especially online, because it's accessible and easy. It gives a competitive advantage in this global economy by increasing visibility, which is essential since you now have to do more to be considered for coveted board seats. While in-person presence is still vital, your LinkedIn profile, website bio, published articles, shared content, presence on social media, etc. all allow for you to be top-of-mind. It's now crucial to curate your online presence to support your board expertise and aspirations."
In the past, those with high skill, but afloat in shallow networking pools, never even made it to the candidate pile for Board consideration. Today, a savvy Board Director, Board Advisor or even a Board candidate, can further develop a global name for themselves through a creative marketing strategy coupled with intriguing and informative content.
What will you consider when creating your Board Director marketing strategy?
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About the Author: In addition to sitting on numerous Boards, Mark A. Pfister is a certified Board Director and advises public, private and non-profit boards in efficient and effective operations. He is the inventor of the 'Board as a Service' (BaaS) engagement model and an expert project/program manager frequently consulting on strategic global initiatives in their initiation and operational phases....... <here>>
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