SINGAPORE — Golin has launched what it believes is the first data-driven tool that analyses the business impact of executive thought leadership.

The Executive Impact Matrix has been developed by the agency’s creative intelligence team in Singapore, led by APAC chief creative officer Shouvik Prasanna Mukherjee and Golin Singapore director of strategy Andrea Tesorero. It will be rolled out globally after a pilot period in Asia Pacific.

The matrix determines a business leader’s overall standing against industry peers by generating an ‘executive impact’ score that informs the areas to focus on when developing a communications strategy to build the reputation of executives and their businesses. The tool also helps set benchmarks and defines key performance indicators to measure the success of thought leadership programmes.

Central to the matrix are 14 critical business values, identified using input from business leaders from Golin’s clients across the region and secondary research from academic and business intelligence papers that analyse leadership qualities, supplemented by Golin’s existing data and analytics platforms.

The 14 values are divided into three areas: ‘Business Fundamentals’ that drive revenue, including business performance, customer focus, employee development, employee wellness, ethics and trust, innovation, product and service quality and safety; ‘Foresight’, covering technical initiatives that ensure the company's future success, such as digital transformation, future proofing, and privacy and security; and ‘Connection’ – those values that keep brands and their leaders relevant, progressive and in touch, including DE&I, social purpose and sustainability.

Quantifiable metrics include the scale of the audience, frequency of content produced related to a particular topic, levels of interaction, favourability and sentiment towards an executive and their level of influence. Qualitative aspects cover leadership factors that affect decision-making and business performance against peers.

Mukherjee, who was promoted into the role last year, told PRovoke Media that the matrix had been developed in response to demand from B2C and B2B clients for thought leadership programmes related to corporate purpose: “During Covid, all brands were reacting and they, and we, realised that in the long term thought leadership needed to be more strategic and aligned to their values. We realised there was a gap: there was no standard programme to measure and assess the impact of thought leadership on business results.”

He added: “The right time for working with this is yesterday. We were looking at where we can develop data-driven storytelling, and the one thing we always come back to is measurement. A core part of this is spokespeople – we always talk about humanising the brand but we also need to speak the language they understand, of business impact.”

Mukherjee said client feedback so far had been positive: “This is about data analytics and creative working seamlessly together instead of separate functions. We’re trying to make data as sexy as possible for clients and stakeholders, not just numbers and graphs but telling a story so it becomes the centre of the work we are delivering. Data storytelling comes out naturally when we take a creative approach. We already have some fantastic case studies. Everyone has the same reaction: how come nobody is doing this, it’s such common sense.”

Tesorero said the tool enabled the agency to see where individual client executives are doing well and where they are lagging, so the team could evaluate the type of stories to put out there to position the executive in an effective way across their industry, depending on the values they need to work more on.

“The beauty of this for the agency team is that we have a starting point to scope out the communications programme,” she said. “We know how much work we need to do, how much money we will be asking for, and that we can track our progress on whether we have positioned that executive as a market leader aligned with their business values.”

Tesorero also said the matrix would reveal broader data as it was rolled out internationally : “Values aren’t ranked equally by all leaders, and it will be interesting to see how US and European leaders prioritise the values. We can gather so much data, we can see how Asian, European and US leaders are different, and also help global leaders understand the priorities of businesses in other regions.”

In addition to Mukherjee and Tesorero leading on the development of the matrix, the tool had input from network teams including Jonny Bentwood, global head of data analytics, and business leaders across Asia associate strategist Ian Tang played a key role the development of and operationalising the tool, and senior strategist Miki Lai helped in customising the tool in traditional and simplified Chinese.