What is Thought Leadership?

What is Thought Leadership?

Rising above all the noise in your industry isn’t easy.  That’s why smart organizations implement thought leadership programs.  Thought leadership. You see this term all the time, especially when considering speaking at conferences.  But what exactly is thought leader?

Here’s how Wikipedia defines the term:

A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. Thought leaders are commonly asked to speak at public events, conferences or webinars to share their insight with a relevant audience.

Adding to that, thought leaders possess an innate ability to contribute to the conversations happening today, while also being able to speculate on what is going to happen tomorrow. They set the pace for the industry and offer intelligent insights, informed opinions and unique points of view. They recognize trends before they happen and apply that insight to achieve business results.

The core of thought leadership involves obtaining recognition for specific knowledge and insights within an industry or community of practice, positioning an organization at a high level of dialog where it’s possible to interact more strategically with clients and reach key decision makers. These programs elevate the customer discussion by focusing on valuable, differentiated content that goes beyond the standard stream of brand messages that force many customers to tune out.

At the heart of successful thought leadership marketing programs are fresh insights fueled by customer and market research. Often brought to life through customer case studies, these insights can generate a much higher degree of authenticity and trust with customers and prospects. Thought leadership is the consultative approach that helps start a series of more valuable conversations with customers.

The benefits of thought leadership for organizations in knowledge-based industries are clear. The visibility of executives and other experts puts a face on your company, disseminates important messages tailored to a specific audience, builds business, and enhances the profile of the organization. Media actively solicit thought leaders for their input for articles and quotes. And the benefits of this credibility and market visibility are obvious. Clients and potential clients recognize thought leaders and the expertise they can bring. As the proliferation of emerging and social media create an atmosphere in which just about anyone can set themselves up as an ‘authority,’ it is essential that true experts differentiate themselves from the herd. It’s clear that thought leadership, when done well generates business.