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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  March 03, 2016

A Strategy to Scale Up Your Thought Leadership

Sometimes you need to be a connector

Last month, I bragged about Terry Barber, who used his passion for inspiring engagement to build a tech company that measures impact on those efforts.

Here’s another way to scale up your thought leadership: be a connector.

A great example of a company acting as a connector is Hookit, a matchmaking platform for athletes who want celebrity endorsements. Started in 2001 by former athletes, this platform evolved from matchmaking to building athlete brands with the Hookit Index and Hookit Score. More than a million athletes use the service.

Let’s drill down here. Two things made Hookit the market leader it is today:

  1. It tapped into a coveted need. This platform started as a matchmaking service for athletes, not as a supporting role. It accessed the $1.6 billion spent on athlete endorsements before helping the athletes build their brands. Big difference. Ask yourself: what budget do your clients want access to? For example, if you work with non-profits, can you help them partner with corporate responsibility departments?

Related: How Thought Leaders Scale their Revenue


  1. It serves both sides. Yes, Hookit was built to support the athletes. But the creators also understand what the sponsors need. So, they developed objective, verified-sourced tools that show sponsors the “reach” of particular athletes, which enables them to find the best athlete. Everybody wins. Ask yourself: what does the other side want from your clients? And how can you help your clients give it to them?

Many thought leaders go the online course route. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, however, the best way to support someone is to go beyond telling the person what to do and instead give them access to your contacts.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.