Seven Stages in Becoming an Industry Expert

By Douglas Kruger

From Amoeba to Icon; where do you currently rank in your industry’s natural progression? In this piece, I walk you through the seven stages of development as you strive to position yourself as an industry expert.

1. The industry Drone: You enter a company and you don’t know what you are doing. This will usually be your first job, perhaps in an industry that you don’t necessarily want to be in.
2. The Novice: When you’ve found an industry that you actually care about, but you are still finding your feet/learning the ropes. You have a boss and essentially simply do as you are told.
3. The Practitioner: You still take orders from a boss, but you start to observe the people around you and start caring about your own performance. At this stage you begin to compare yourself to those around you.
4. The Specialist: You start to act with your own initiative. You may, or may not have a boss at this stage, but essentially you are starting to think for yourself and start interacting with the world around you. Moreover, when you become a specialist, you start seeing the relevance of going to industry events, getting to know key people in the industry and making sure the key people know who you are. Thus, you start developing a reputation.
5. The Authority: You have been in the game long enough and you start to have opinions about how things work. People start approaching you for advice and you are becoming a respected and known figure.
6. The Thought-leader: When you become a thought-leader, the business starts coming to you, the media starts coming to you for advice, and the industry looks to you for how things should be done.
7. The Legend: If you keep the status of a thought-leader long enough, you become an industry legend. At this stage you have been a thought-leader for so long that your name is at the forefront of an industry.

Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker, five-time winner of the SA Championships for Public Speaking, and author of the book 50 Ways to Become a Better Speaker

Culled from


Saka’s MTN Portability Advert: My 5 Key Lessons

Hafiz-Saka-OyetoroThe social media space has been awash with reactions to the new MTN number portability advert since its unveiling at the beginning of the week. While many see the advert as a great creative piece, others have criticized MTN for “unfriendly”, “guerilla” tactics (Whatever that means).
For those who haven’t seen it. A popular TV character, “Saka” (Hafiz Oyetoro), who has appeared in a number Etisalat creative materials (adverts), has “abandoned” the brand and featured as the lead character in a new advert of one of Etisalat’s competitors, MTN.
“Decamping”, to me, is not the major issue, but the creativity deployed by the MTN brand to align the act and the message. The advert is about number portability – moving across operators without changing one’s number. And Saka also “ported” from Etisalat to MTN. Powerful message delivered with unmistakable characterisation.
In this piece, I would like to join the fray. I will, however, limit myself to useful marketing and social lessons that brand managers, employers and everybody can find useful from the MTN creative marketing communication approach to the new portability regime.
• DON’T DO YOUR COMPETITOR ANY FAVOUR — Brand competition is more or less about ‘fighting’ for market share. As my boss would say, “Marketing is War”. When the fortune of your competitor improves, there is the likelihood that your own market share has been eroded one way or the other. This will ultimately affect the bottom line, which is the major objective of being in business. Continuous depletion of a brand’s market share can only spell doom. That’s why brand strategies and tactics must not do the competitor (either direct or remote) any favour, whatsoever. Helping Etisalat brand to grow, certainly, isn’t one of MTN’s business objectives.

• HIT YOUR COMPETITOR WHERE IT HURTS MOST — Since marketing is war, deploying your resources must be strategic. Every “bullet” fired must be able to wreck the most havoc. I am sure MTN understands this very well. “Saka”, in a way, had almost become the “face’ of the Etisalat brand communication activities. When it was time to “strike”, MTN went for the jugular of the brand – Saka. MTN made him to “port”. It was indeed a below-the-belt kick for Etisalat and a major “coup” for MTN. This strategy is necessary in order to destabilise competitor and gain more market share when he’s trying to recover and put the house in order.

• CREATE TALKABILITY ABOUT YOUR BRAND — Creating constant buzz around your brand keeps it fresh and relevant in the consciousness of the target market. The Saka advert has created so much talkability about MTN in offices, homes and on the social media platforms since the beginning of this week and this might continue for a time to come. In creating buzz, elements of surprise, shock, conversation and creativity must be taken into consideration.

• ‘BUY’ LOYALTY OF KEY ASSETS — In football, clubs do all they can to keep their most valuable assets. From ‘insane’ remuneration to various concessions and privileges, key assets that deliver greatest value are pampered all the way. Why Etisalat didn’t lock Saka to a long-term contract, with an industry-exclusivity clause, still beats my imagination.

• BE ADVENTUROUS — Particularly if the financial offer is good and you possess the skills and talents to make impact, don’t be afraid of change. Change is constant. I learnt the switch over for Saka set MTN back by N20 million. You can imagine what that amount will do to a modest man like Saka. Go for that CHANGE.

NB: I welcome readers’ opinions on my views expressed above. For or against will be appreciated.