Leveraging the power of thought leadership can help your tech scale-up and executive team stand out as innovation experts in your industry. It can also help you rise above the competition. Unfortunately, today’s tech landscape is as crowded as ever. Just having the title of CEO or founder isn’t enough to mark someone as a credible spokesperson or influencer.

Josh Driver, CEO of Selfless.ly at startup pitch night
Josh Driver, CEO of Selfless.ly, presenting at Startup Pitch Night: Diversity, Inclusion, and the Future of Tech. Photo by Ben Shadley.

So how do you build the reputation of company spokesperson (or your own) as a thought leader? One way to beef up thought leadership credibility (and reinforce that perception in prospects’ and customers’ minds) is through individual awards.

From a “Founder of the Year” distinction to inclusion on a “top entrepreneurs” list, these accolades build the personal brands of your spokespeople. Here are three ways individual awards can make a difference for your tech scale-up.

1. Third-party validation

No matter how much your team praises your founder or spokesperson, those affirmations only go so far. Individual awards provide formalized third-party validation of a person’s expertise in a given area. Think of these awards as endorsements that earn credibility for your scale-up’s thought leaders.

2. Differentiation from competitors

How do your founders, executives, and other thought leaders stack up against established influencers? This is something potential investors, customers, and other stakeholders pay attention to when doing their due diligence.

Receiving an award distinguishes your scale-up’s leaders from other industry experts. It automatically heightens your spokesperson’s thought leadership and credibility in the space.

3. Recruiting tech talent

Investors and prospects aren’t the only ones doing due diligence about your business. Similar to company-wide awards, individual awards also impact the way potential employees think about your business.

Consider that the demand for tech talent makes startup hiring more competitive than ever. Awards shine a light on your unique company culture. They also demonstrate the ability of individual executives. By winning both company and individual awards, you can uniquely position yourself against competitors that might be on the minds of job candidates.

Don’t write off individual awards as an ego-boost for your founder or other members of your scale-up’s leadership team. A little bit of recognition can have considerable impact on thought leadership credibility for your tech scale-up.