How to Publicize Competitive Intelligence’s Value and Achievements - dummies

How to Publicize Competitive Intelligence’s Value and Achievements

By James D. Underwood

Internal memos and newsletters often celebrate the achievements of sales and marketing, but don’t often reveal the contributions of competitive intelligence. For the CI team to maximize its effectiveness, your organization needs to publicly acknowledge and perhaps even celebrate its contributions to the organization’s success.

How to enhance competitive intelligence’s image through your intelligence cluster

Make your intelligence cluster (the CI team, internal customers, and sponsors) aware of the importance of publicizing CI wins. Ask them for suggestions on how to diplomatically promote CI within the organization. You don’t want to steal the stage from others who certainly deserve some of the spotlight, but you do need to find ways to share the stage in order to increase CI’s visibility and credibility.

Don’t boast. Nobody likes a braggart. Try to find ways to share the stage and give shout-outs to others in the organization who played a key role in executing successful initiatives.

How to promote competitive intelligence through a newsletter

Team up with the person or team in charge of communications in your organization to determine the best way to publicize CI’s work internally. In most cases, you have the following options, but always make sure that the CEO approves before pursuing any of these options:

  • Add a CI column to an existing newsletter. Your organization’s newsletter editor would probably be more than happy to include whatever you choose to contribute.

    Consider a “Competitive Corner” column that presents key issues and challenges that your organization will face in the future. Such a column enables you to soft sell the value of CI.

  • Claim some space in the CEO’s monthly newsletter. While space may be limited, any association with the CEO boosts CI’s credibility.

  • Create your own CI newsletter. This option gives you the most freedom and space.

Whichever option you choose, consider adding “attaboy” and “attagirl” recognition to reward employees who contribute to CI’s success and make everyone aware of CI’s role in helping the organization remain competitive. You can also use your monthly newsletter content to keep everyone up-to-date, highlight key issues, and reinforce the role that everyone in the organization plays in gathering information and passing it along to CI for analysis.

How to create a “pull effect” for internally generated competitive intelligence

Symbolic gestures of recognition are powerful tools for sparking radical change within an organization and establishing CI as a key component for success. In particular, recognition from leadership and peers is a powerful motivator. To inspire people in your organization to pass information to the CI team, reward them with recognition from the executive level on down.

Using symbolic recognition to build interest in CI is similar to pull marketing. Rather than pushing CI onto individuals who may resist it, you’re drawing individuals to engage in it. This technique is incredibly powerful in motivating desired behaviors.

Compare the following two scenarios to determine the recognition approach that’s most rewarding and likely to motivate the entire organization to contribute to CI’s success:

  • Management has selected you as CI Sleuth of the Month for passing along information to the CI team that helped the organization land a multimillion-dollar contract. As a result, you’re awarded a steak dinner for you and your guest at a fancy restaurant. Your boss gives you the award and the gift certificate in an envelope and shakes your hand as she thanks you.

  • You are selected as CI Sleuth of the Month for the aforementioned reasons. As a result, you’re awarded a steak dinner for you and your guest at a fancy restaurant.

    As you enter the office one morning, your boss and the CEO of the company greet you. They call 50 or so of your fellow employees together, the CEO personally recognizes you for your work in front of everyone, and he hands you the envelope and thanks you for your contribution.

The power of symbolism is evident when you read the second scenario. Such an event would create an immediate desire on the part of others in the organization to do something that gets them recognition for a job well done, and the story would spread all over the company in less than 30 minutes.