Before I start though here is my definition of thought leadership: "Thought leadership is about delivering new ideas and content to your target publics based on deep insights into the business issues and challenges they face. In the process, the value you deliver should go well beyond merely selling your product or service. Your thought leadership point of view should differentiate you from your competitors, establish you as the ‘go to' expert in that field and position you as a trusted advisor - all with the intent of underpinning the sale."
The interviewees included: David Meerman Scott, Bob Buday, Erica Klein, Jeff Ernst, Rob Leavitt, Britton Manasco, Dana van den Heuvel, Matt Church, Fiona Czerniawska, Dale Bryce, Elizabeth Sosnow, Marte Semb Aasmundsen and I chipped in with some answers of my own.
One of the key themes was the recognition by business leaders that thought leadership has become a key sales and service driver. As a result it is being integrated more readily into strategic business development plans and we will see more sophisticated packaging and presentation.
This focus will also result in better resources for thought leadership campaigns which, in turn, will lead to increased innovation and ground breaking thinking.
Social media is a great way to spread ideas but it shouldn't replace face to face interaction with clients. In fact your thought leadership should be used to empower and motivate client facing people to meet clients more regularly and to share your tailored, thought leadership insights with them.
Well known marketing and PR author, David Meerman Scott felt that businesses should start exploring real-time thought leadership i.e. thought leadership that responds to what's going on now.
And I think we may even see cloud computing start playing a role in ordering and structuring content and intellectual property.
It comes down to three things - time, resources and effort.
Once these are in place you need agreement on priorities, the processes and content production. All of this should be documented in a plan with kpis.
Commitment from senior management and the subject matter experts within an organization is critical. Furthermore, without the right thought leadership champion/s your campaign will struggle.
Companies need to be brave and pick one or two areas/topics and do them well. And get rid of the products and services mentality - too much of a focus on these as well as mediocrity are big thought leadership killers.
Read the full article here: http://clubasteriaeducation.com/authors/12-experts-on-the-challenges-facing-thought-leadership-in-2012/