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Unlocking The Benefits of Thought Leadership For Your Business

Are you struggling to get the results you want from thought leadership?

Wondering if it even makes sense for your business?

If you have been on the fence about thought leadership being a worthwhile investment for your business, you are not alone. If you are not sure how to carry out this sizeable task, you are certainly not alone.

Thought leadership requires huge efforts, but investing in it has many commercial benefits.

More than half (55%) of business leaders maintain that thought leadership influences their company’s revenue either directly through lead generation or indirectly through customer and prospect conversations.
Source: Leading Lights: harnessing thought leadership superpowers for commercial and cultural success report 2023, iResearch Services

“Thought leadership can have a huge impact on your ability to close deals faster, to get more inbound leads, to make your sales team do less outbound work.” says Jennifer Smith, B2B marketing leader and former Chief Marketing Officer of MarketingProfs, on our podcast.

Redefining the term, “Thought Leadership”: time to look through a new lens

A thought leader is an individual or organization who, by virtue of their knowledge and experience, can offer unique insights and solve problems. Thought leadership also alludes to using intelligence to inform every aspect of your business.

The concept is often confused with content marketing, but it is so much more than that.

“Thought leadership is a few steps up. It is about sparking conversations, influencing the industry narrative, solving tomorrow’s problems and, in turn, boosting company recognition. It is less superficial, more ingrained, and ultimately serves to build stand-out reputation and brand awareness more effectively, particularly as the world is awash with content,” explains our CEO, Yogesh Shah.

Facing an online environment brimming with content, a thought leader cuts through the noise to offer creative outputs that scream authenticity. This is even more important in times of crisis and uncertainty.

Guided by deep knowledge and original insight, thought leadership can solve critical problems affecting your industry, an opportunity that is present now more than ever.

37% of business leaders who engage with thought leadership believe it demonstrates innovation, according to our latest study. If innovation is the lifeblood of your organization, thought leadership can be an effective tool to gain recognition in your industry.

The Impact of Thought Leadership

A Lever for the 4Rs

What business leaders who create it think:

When considering thought leadership as a way to communicate the expertise and knowledge of your business and colleagues within it, what does thought leadership mean to you?

Creators' Survey
Source: iResearch Services

Relationships:
Increases customer loyalty - 52%
Profiles brand, products and services - 33%
Assists direction shift/new market entry - 28%
Improves customer experience/engagement - 24%
Entertains audience - 14%

Revenue:
Differentiates your company from the competition - 46%
Increases revenue - 44%
Opens doors for the sales team - 31%

Reputation:
Establishes brand as authority in field - 42%
Demonstrates innovation - 40%
Helps your audience to become more knowledgeable - 35%

Real-world impact:
Supports policy agenda - 30%
Campaigns on ESG issues - 19%

Thought leadership has a notable impact on several factors that anchor businesses, encompassed in the 4Rs – Relationships, Reputation, Revenue, and Real-World Impact.

Businesses that invest in thought leadership see an increase in their impact scores, directly influencing company valuations.

Business leaders who engage with thought leadership have a similar view, with 46% saying it increases customer loyalty, while 39% believe it differentiates a company from its competitor. 94% of these business leaders even said that thought leadership informs or leads their decision-making. This presents a unique opportunity to build a rapport with these hard-to-reach senior audiences.

What makes executives want to engage with thought leadership? Our research uncovers that research and insight (53%) and informed opinions (48%) are the top two factors. This is a key component in creating a valuable campaign.

Internal process and culture transformation

Deloitte’s findings on stakeholder trust show that almost four-fifths of employees who highly trust their employer are more motivated to work.

Keeping this in mind, using thought leadership as a tool to inspire employees, improve performance, and productivity can build trust. Leaders in any business area, such as management, HR, IT, sales, marketing, communications, insight, and operations can implement this in their teams. For example, powering personnel with best practice insight can set them up for success, leading to a positive financial impact.

Promoting internal and external collaboration

Clarifying a purpose or imparting intelligence to inform action adds ‘thought’ to ‘leadership’. This can break down barriers within teams and between departments in an organization.

Additionally, contributing to your industry community can spark conversations with external experts in the same field. Who knows? This could lead you to your next customer or a new partnership! Bonus: An elevated brand presence and recognition in your industry.

As a result, thought leadership encourages collaboration within and outside the organization.

Combating misinformation

According to our survey on misinformation, 94% of business leaders say it poses a danger to business. However, only 37% of these leaders were ‘very prepared’ to deal with its impact. Thought leadership can be an effective tool to tackle this problem.

A substantial percentage (84%) of business leaders believe that thought leadership effectively combats misinformation, as part of a broader strategy. So the tool can strengthen a business’s credibility in the eyes of its target customer.

Looking to deliver results through thought leadership? Check out our CEO, Yogesh Shah’s article on the 6 fundamental pillars of thought leadership that get results.

Thought Leadership in action

Thought leadership can fundamentally transform how your business operates, both internally and externally. In addition to helping you define how your business functions daily, it can build and cement your position as a frontrunner. In our latest research-based report, our Super Squad team shows how thought leadership can add value across your organization.

Can thought leadership drive commercial and cultural success for your business? Absolutely! Find out how to unlock its full potential in our latest report.

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