13 Aug 2010
Anyone who thinks that thought leadership is purely an external function aimed at influencing various target audiences would be seriously limiting its potential impacts.
In fact, used properly, it can also be a very powerful vehicle to motivate and inspire an organisation’s employees.
I have written before in this blog that thought leadership is not and should not be a marketing or PR tactic – rather it should be part of the culture of an organisation the same way that sales or innovation are part of the culture of some organisations.
Thought leadership should be “a way of doing things around here” and from my experience, true, long-term, thought leadership campaigns typically closely aligns with the values of an organisation. In order to do this it needs the buy-in and ownership of senior management.
And herein lies the rub. If it is part of the culture, if it is aligned to the values of the organisation and if it has the buy-in and ownership of management then the rest of the organisation’s employees should be part of the thought leadership campaign.
Employees will become a thought leadership campaign’s best ambassadors
If an organisation does plan strategically to take its employees on the thought leadership journey, it will find that they in fact will become its best thought leadership ambassadors. Communicated properly, this will become one of the most effective ways to get your thought leadership material out there. It will also be one of the best forms of word of mouth you can hope to get.
It gives employees something to talk about over and above the products or services you sell while at the same time delivers to them a deeper sense of pride about where they work, what they do and the difference the brand makes to other people’s lives.
It also has the habit of instilling longer-term behavioural changes that come as a result of the organisation being viewed as ahead of the game. This has a whole heap of benefits from increased morale, a magnet for top talent, increased sales to mention a few.
All powerful stuff.
Furthermore, not only is the business benefitting externally but internally it further entrenches thought leadership as a way of doing business – it becomes a habit. This in turn can foster the emergence of other thought leaders thus creating a virtuous circle.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and whether any of you have seen this in practice?
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