Thought Leadership in Action

The Consumer Technology Association's Profile-Building
The Consumer Technology Association's Profile Building


Many organizations, both corporations and nonprofits, encourage top executives to make speeches, do media interviews and write articles and social media posts. These efforts help to spread the organization’s key messages far and wide to different audiences. But how do you do this in a systematic way that ensures quality and consistency of communication?

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) strategically cultivates the profiles of its experts, helping them find writing and speaking opportunities that enhance their reputations with different stakeholders. And its profile-building efforts are designed to allow executives to be their authentic selves, rather than spokespeople. CEO Gary Shapiro is a particularly good example. He is a prolific writer who publishes several contrarian articles per week as an “influencer” on LinkedIn and on the editorial pages of leading American newspapers.

Why it Works

CTA employs a director of thought leadership to facilitate profile-building. She maintains an inventory of experts at the association and evaluates speaking platforms and media channels available for executives to share their expertise. The director of thought leadership also reviews any potentially controversial communications with the policy staff to ensure individual perspectives aren’t in conflict with association policy positions. At the same time, CTA realizes the importance of increasing understanding of technology issues among the public and policy-makers, so it is careful not to stifle debate that has educational value.


Success has been measured by increased engagement with outside audiences in the form of readership numbers, comments to posts and inbound emails asking questions. CTA has also successfully positioned itself as a major source of expertise on major technology-related issues.