Amy Fisher

Vice president - Padilla



INNOVATE Minnesota

As Featured In:

INNOVATE® Minnesota


Innovation has been described as a business strategy, a brand value, even an organizational characteristic. It implies continuous ideation, creativity, and execution based on an ability to understand and meet the needs of customers, employees, investors, and other key stakeholders.

Innovation is what pushes ideas forward into the realm of reality.

One of the most critical aspects of being seen by others as an innovator is a brand’s ability to think and act like a leader.

What kind of thought leader are you?

A lot of brands find being a thought leader extremely challenging. After all, you want your opinions to be seen and heard, but you don’t want to alienate any potential stakeholders. You want media to pay attention, but you don’t want to stick your neck out on controversial topics.

Here’s the thing: brands that think this way are approaching thought leadership in all the wrong ways. Innovators already have all the qualities of a good thought leader. You just need to apply them to your brand communications.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably a “disruptor”: an upstart that’s challenging the way things are done. Creating something new and disrupting the status quo with something of greater value are essential for thought leadership. So, build on these qualities—be vocal about the challenges in your industry and be the one to step out with opinions on how you (and others) can solve them.

Not a young. disruptive brand? That’s okay. The “sage” is an established brand that can also innovate. Their tried-and-true reputation gives them more freedom to challenge the market and ask for support. Sages tend to lead the industry in new directions—convincing others to enthusiastically come along for the ride.

Finally, some brands are “conveners.” A convener brings disparate groups together to solve a common problem. Like sages, conveners need followers, but the convener mindset is a perfect fit for effective thought leadership. If you’re a convener, you probably find it easy to take center stage, showing others the path forward and speaking on behalf of the group. Just remember that truly innovative thought leaders share the limelight.

Changing your mindset and how you think about thought leadership is the first step. It will give you the freedom to apply the skills you already use as an innovator to the process of building your brand. Your stakeholders will take notice and start to view you as an innovator.

Once you’ve identified your thought leadership role, you need a brand story, voice, messaging, visual identity, and (most importantly) a strategic plan. Establishing a content and connectivity strategy is key to building and growing your reputation as a true thought leader

Amy Fisher, Padilla vice president, helps companies articulate their value and strengthen their brands. She heads up accounts for the agency’s largest B2B enterprise hardware, software, and services clients. Her teams focus on brands selling complex B2B technologies into retail, healthcare, education, financial service, industrial, and agricultural segments.

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