Leader of the Pack Part 1: How your company can benefit from thought leadership

Thought LeadershipWe are transitioning from a knowledge-based economy to a wisdom-based economy.
It’s no longer just about what you know, but what you do with what you know.

-Glenn Llopis, Forbes

Thought leadership is frequently included as an element in Marketing Works’ strategic marketing plans. But, sometimes it’s difficult for the client to understand exactly what we mean by thought leadership and how that translates into value for their company. We’ve put together this two-part post for our readers to help break down the idea.

First, let’s start out by taking a look at the general misconceptions of the term:

  1. Any subject-matter expert can be a thought leader– Subject-matter experts are reactive. Thought leaders…well…lead!
  2. Thought leaders are the leading experts in their field – The essence of thought leadership isn’t expertise. It is passion. There must be an underlying passion for thinking, collaborating, problem solving and more. This is where a lot of companies go wrong in their thought leadership. The passion isn’t honest, which the target audience can quickly catch on to.
  3. Thought leaders are always forward thinking – Yes, there are some thought leaders that are forward thinking – identifying issues in the market, forecasting trends, etc. Others can be retrospective – reviewing the past and reporting. Some simply help provide clarity on a confusing issue.

Now, let’s take a look at the actual definition of ‘thought leader’ for a better understanding:

  1. A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in it being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.
  2. A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.

The first is pretty self-explanatory, just put into a nice packaged sentence. The second is the real gem. Thought leadership is worth nil if you aren’t profiting from it. This is where the client usually gets tied up, asking themselves, “What value am I getting from this thought leadership?”

Well, glad you asked…In part 2 we will discuss the values thought leadership will offer your company. In addition, we will provide a list of potential opportunities for your company to get involved in to showcase your thought leadership.




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