What A Real-Life “Don Draper” Taught Me About Thought Leadership

I was reading about William Bernbach last night — he was the advertising guy behind such legendary classic ad campaigns like Avis’ “We Try Harder,” and the Volkswagen “Think Small” and “Lemon” ads.

He had a number of sayings about advertising that could — not surprisingly — be applied to thought leadership.

I wanted to share seven of them with you today, adapted to the subjects you and I talk about, and strung together to tell a story as old as the hills and more useful than your smartphone:

1. The most powerful element in thought leadership is the truth.

2. The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you.

3. They can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying.

4. They can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you.

5. They won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting.

6. You won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.

7. Our job is to bring facts to life.

I think these seven principles are your marching orders: tell the truth, be persuasive about it, get in front of people and grab their attention, and for Pete’s sake, be interesting.

I dig up lessons like this every day, and present them for you to put into action in your thought leadership business. And they don’t cost a dime. You can get them delivered to your inbox by signing up at You Can Be A Thought Leader.