The world of business learned many lessons in 2020. One of these critical lessons was the importance of having strong leaders to set the tone and guide the business through difficult times. And, just as employees look to follow strong leaders within their own businesses, the business community at large looks for thought leaders to provide insights on how to weather challenging situations, overcome business challenges, and achieve growth in a disrupted landscape.
Establishing your business as a thought leader can position your company as an expert in your field, with potential partners and customers looking to you for ideas and information, as well as product and service advice, as your reputation builds.
While there are a number of benefits in positioning your business as a thought leader, two key benefits are:
- Increased exposure: being a thought leader increases your potential for publicity and exposure to new audiences. If you’re seen as a leader in your field and industry, journalists are more likely come to you for advice and guidance on major industry changes and innovations. Being quoted and profiled in a variety of media increases the potential number of people you can connect with for business opportunities, too.
- Increased trust and credibility: being quoted with regularity in reputable publications as an industry leader increases your credibility with new audiences. This can lead to greater familiarity and trust within the industry, and increased business opportunities with potential customers and partners.
Thought leaders can inspire change and genuinely influence industries. They can also help to turn new ideas into reality, and generate more revenue and business opportunities for their organisation and for companies that follow their lead. Not every company has the potential to become a great thought leader in their industry; it requires a number of factors to be in place. So, how do you know if your business is ready to take the plunge and step up?
Here are a few essential qualities that need to be in place before embarking on a thought leadership strategy:
- A genuine expert. It’s people that help companies build their reputation as thought leaders. True experts within your business who have innovative, original thoughts and ideas and knows how to communicate them are key. Importantly, these experts must be willing to stand out from the crowd, to put their head above the metaphorical parapet and defend their position.
- A unique perspective. Me-too commentary rarely attracts interest from the media or from your target audience. You need to focus on a new issue that hasn’t been explored, or provide a new way of thinking about a common or emerging issue. Repeating what everyone else has said makes you a follower, not a leader.
- Back-up from your team. Thought leadership needs to come from an expert but it also needs to be supported by knowledgeable employees who can provide feedback and input on ideas and content generated to maximise quality.
- Communications capabilities. The most innovative ideas in the world go nowhere if you can’t tell people about them. To become established as a thought leader, you need to communicate your ideas in a variety of ways. This can include various owned and earned media opportunities that leverage written, visual, and other types of content to disseminate your ideas.
If you’re looking to position your company as a thought leader in 2021, The Recognition Group can help. Our team provides guidance on:
- what thought leadership is and why it matters
- the different types of thought leadership
- how to build a thought leadership strategy and execution plan
- critical success factors
- ways to effectively measure success.
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