• The 9 fundamentals of thought leadership

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    5 Apr 2011

    The nine fundamentals to thought leadership

    The nine fundamentals to thought leadership

    Here are the nine fundamentals to being a thought leader:

    1.)    Research your target audience – identify the challenges and issues they face in their daily lives/businesses. This is the most important clue and driver of your thought leadership direction.


    2.)    What do you want to be famous for? – Identify what area you want to own in your sector or industry. Focus on where your areas of expertise lie and analyse how you can you build an even deeper understanding backed by empirical data and always remember to focus it on your clients’ needs.


    3.)    Scan your competitors – are they doing anything in that space? If they are, don’t bother competing rather find a new space you can own.


    4.)    Deep dive – once you’ve identified the space you want to own it is important to go really deep into that area with evidence based research – opinions and using other people’s content certainly won’t cut it if you truly want to position yourself as a thought leader.


    5.)    Set objectives and kpis for your campaign – it needs to support and underpin some solid business objectives and it needs to be measured so that improvements can b made and it can be recalibrated along the way.


    6.)    Say something new – if you don’t your so-called thought leadership point of view will realistically only amount to another piece of content and there is a lot of content out there. This is about differentiating yourself from your competitors and positioning yourselves as the trusted advisors or ‘go to’ experts in your field.


    7.)    Thought leadership champions – Identify and involve your thought leadership champions from the beginning – someone has to own this and act as your spokesperson and preferably someone senior so that you gain the business traction and senior backing you need in order for it to be a success.


    8.)    Leverage and packaging – cleverly package your content across every touch point of your target audience and prospects.   There is a lot written about content management, content marketing, content curation.  Call it what you will, the point is read the material it will give you some good ideas on how to leverage your content and take it to market.


    9.)    Make it part of your culture – there are many well known brands out there such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Booz & Company who have thought leadership ingrained in their culture.  They manage it as an important part of their business and the ROI on their thought leadership campaigns have been fantastic as a result.


    Let me know if you have any other fundamental steps you think I should add.

    3 Responses to “The 9 fundamentals of thought leadership”

    1. Sandro Cenni says:

      Hi. I have come across your website while looking up “Thought Leadership” on the net. I’m job-hunting and I’ve found a position in a field I had never heard of. Your 9 fundamentals are interesting, but I think you need a Fundamental Zero: identify your audience, or is it something beyond the scope of though leadership?

    2. craig says:

      Hi Sandro, you are absolutelty right. In step one when I talk about researching one’s target audience I take that for granted – which I suppose one should never do. Thanks.

    3. Jerry Hingle says:

      Really well organized list. Thank you for the post.

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