Here’s a litmus test to help you judge your company’s thought leadership potential.
Recently, Chris Koch explored the eight attributes of individual thought leadership. In summary, according to his research and experience, a thought leader combines earned respect with a highly engaging persona.
But if the company itself is not set up to support thought leadership, or take advantage of its benefits, even Seth Godin won’t be able to help (much).
Ask yourself these three questions with respect to your company:
Okay, that’s kind of a trick question. Every company has to be able to envision their potential before they can fulfill it.
However, if your company leadership assumes that just because they have some good ideas the company should automatically be recognized as a thought leader in their field, they’re on the wrong track. Selling thought leadership is not the same as selling strategy and programs.
If “thought leadership” is proposed as a marketing objective for a campaign, move on to #2.
2. Do you have a proven track record of success?
To be recognized as a thought leader, your company needs to show it’s a true subject matter expert by its results as well as its ideas. If a neat description of an interesting twist on a marketing concept made one a thought leader, every good copywriter in our industry would be hailed as such.
True thought leadership reflects experience over time. No thought leader, company or individual, reaps results right away. Which leads us to #3…
I’m afraid engaging in thought leadership is like receiving a puppy at Christmas: it’s a commitment for life! (Or at least the life of your company/pup).
Thought leadership isn’t owned by one campaign; it has to become ingrained in the way your designated thought leaders work.
Which isn’t to say it’s hard. It’s a matter of being mindful—in your content planning, program planning, resource allocation—so that thought leadership needs are fed by and inform all of your efforts.