The intersection of big data, SpongeBob SquarePants and thought leadership

July 26, 2012

The “hahahahahahaha” of SpongeBob SquarePants' laugh slowly fades as I slap the button on my alarm clock and open my eyes to read the display of 3:30 a.m. The time doesn't disturb me as much as the image of SpongeBob and his friend, Patrick Star, bouncing around on oversized, neon numbers in the middle of Bikini Bottom – basically, my personal nightmare version of big data.

In reality, big data is a topic of concern for many companies for a variety of reasons from storage to strategy. From a communications professional's point of view, big data underlines the latest in the string of trends that invade our lives – ideas and technologies that take over and become larger than life. Because, face it, large quantities of data? Not something that is entirely new.

A few individuals and groups embraced the term “big data” and promoted it in the technology world. They got industry influencers to talk about it, the media to write about it, and other companies to stop and ask about it. And their efforts were successful. The core of that success lies in thought leadership.
Thought leadership is basically taking a concept, such as big data, and using it in your conversations — online and in person — to demonstrate your knowledge and your company's expertise. Thought leadership is essential to brand awareness for you and your firm.

Now, any communications professional will say she can help you with thought leadership and get you a string of media interviews. But true thought leadership lies in delivering quality content and talking with other companies (including competitors), in addition to the media. It is an ongoing part of the PR program, not just a singular project.

Thought leadership programs need to be unique to the company, market and individual, just as SpongeBob is unique to Bikini Bottom. There is only one sponge like him.

What could you do to make yourself the primary thought leader in your market?

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