The best approach to take for thought leadership

The best approach to take for thought leadership is to eliminate the  “hard sell” approach to marketing. This is basically selling solely on features and benefits to the end user.

While product and service benefits are an important variable in the sales process – especially if the brand enjoys competitive advantages – as the messaging is owned and direct, savvy consumers may take the brand’s messaging with a grain of salt.

Your thought leader will demonstrate authority on your industries subject matter. Their opinions and commentary will bolster your brands market authority, creating a positive feedback loop when new market developments occur.

What is the advantage of thought leadership?

Thought leadership isn’t a standalone replacement for traditional marketing activities but should be used to complement them as part of a broader program.

Some might ask what the benefit of thought leadership is if we’re not directly talking-up or promoting a product or service with a view to driving sales. The simple answer is that the value is gained by associating the brand with the subject matter and the spokesperson’s expertise.

How is thought leadership strategy applied?

The execution is probably best demonstrated through a couple of examples.

A chief engineer at an automotive or commercial vehicle company may develop a piece that broadly discusses the advancements in low emission technologies or alternative fuels. There’s no direct mention of the brand’s product, but by associating the spokesperson by position and company, the connection is made.

A fleet sales manager at a capital equipment business could discuss the efficiencies gained by operating a uniform equipment fleet, covering off items such as the benefits of machine familiarity for drivers, commonality of wear and parts leading to improved parts availability, and better leveraging the customer-OEM relationship by being a major customer for that brand.

What marketing channels should thought leadership be used?

There are a number of options that brands can use to promote their message to potential and existing customers. The following three platforms could be used either in isolation, or for best results, together.

  1. LinkedIn: This offers a great format for the spokesperson who is well connected and has a strong existing audience. The platform also allows for interplay between the company’s official LinkedIn page and that of the spokesperson, potentially allowing for a larger audience to be reached. It also provides a forum for two-way communication growing conversations and engagement.
  2.  Media Release:  For even greater breadth of reach, the LinkedIn article can be repurposed for distribution to relevant media outlets while also making the spokesperson available for media interviews.
  3. Industry events and speaking engagements: Every industry has regular trade shows and events, with seminars, workshops and lectures often forming part of the agenda. Either through invitation or via sponsorship, these events provide the opportunity to address relevant industry contacts and are particularly valuable for companies operating in the B2B space.

Who makes a good spokesperson for thought leadership?

Credibility and having a sound industry knowledge are the foremost requirements to be a company spokesperson. They should also be approachable and be readily available to be contacted, particularly by members of the media if required.

For speaking engagements such as trade shows, it would also be preferable for the spokesperson to have some presenting experience or at least feel comfortable speaking to an audience.

If you’re wanting another example of thought leadership… You’re reading it! Please contact us for a chat if you’d like to learn more

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