Thought leadership is the result of a very deliberate effort to position an organization as a voice within their target market that people pay attention to and respect. It results in a broad acknowledgment that your company, a real sense, leads the thinking in your industry.
“Thought leadership doesn’t happen by accident,” says Antony Bell, Managing Partner of The Bell Group and author of Great Leadership: What It Is and What It Takes In a Complex World. “It requires work and a commitment to look at your company from the perspective of the outside world. Generating a company-wide, ongoing effort to thought leadership is the best way to ensure that it happens.”
Thought leadership marketing is most effective when becomes part of the essential fabric of a company. For larger organizations, thought leadership marketing succeeds when a CEO or executive creates the conditions within the organization that foster thought leadership at all levels of a company.
“Thought leadership starts by taking a good look at your target market and identifying the point on the horizon where your want to take your organization,” says Bell. “Thought leaders determine opportunities to position themselves within their target market based on their key competitive advantages.”
Most importantly, thought leadership achieves full potential when it is seen as a top-down initiative that welcomes participation from eveyone inside a company. “When thought leadership achieves widespread ownership inside a company, there is greater likelihood that the company will generate the internal momentum critical to keep thought leadership moving into the marketplace,” says Bell.