Thought leadership can evolve a brand, skyrocketing it to new heights, but if a carefully calculated approach is not put in place, poor thought leadership can ultimately damage a brand’s reputation. Utilizing a thought leader can result in a positive reputation and an expanded audience. The individual chosen must be able to relate to your brand’s message and be considered an expert in the particular industry.  

The title, “thought leader” can’t be claimed, but attained through years of experience and recognition of expertise. Authenticity is key to success with thought leadership; brands must identify who they are and what their message is prior to selecting an individual to represent them. This includes having informed opinions and innovative ideas for the future, with a strategy to get there.

It is important to make sure the person chosen can relate to and is committed to your brand’s message, in addition to having extensive knowledge in the industry. Expertise helps to build confidence and credibility, making the thought leader’s word more valuable. According to a study led by Circle Research, 43% of B2B marketers describe thought leadership content as critical to their marketing strategy. To see results, the thought leader must be able to connect the dots of the message, resonating with the customer base and building brand affinity.

Thought leadership does not exist without a following – brands must pinpoint their audience and craft content that people can relate to and be inspired by. Understanding and investing in this group of individuals will cultivate an element of trust and lead to the creation of an engaged, loyal community. With time, this community will regard the brand as a credible resource and engagement will significantly rise.

There are plenty of thought leaders who have aided in the success of brands. Take a look at Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and co-founder of PayPal. Because of his accomplishments and innovative ideas, people look to Musk as a trusted authoritative figure. He is fixated on the progression of his blueprint with the goal of colonizing Mars. There is a global audience tuned in waiting to see Musk’s next big project come to fruition. Just this month #FalconHeavy was trending on Twitter, his most powerful rocket to launch with his cherry red Tesla inside. Any brand that Musk is attributed with automatically increases in value and is seen as a trailblazer in their own industry. SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and PayPal are huge companies that have garnered a great amount of attention and respect with the help of Musk.

According to the same Circle Research study, 56% of B2B marketers have seen an increase in sales as a direct result of thought leadership content. Marketing Options International Mindshare Cafe even saw a ROI (Return on Investment) of over 2,700%.

Electing an appropriate thought leader adds value to your brand, eventually growing your business, increasing market share, and building a strong reputation. Including this in your marketing plan leads your brand toward being considered an expert resource in your industry, spearheading progress and overall success.

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