Before we explore the power of thought leaders and thought leadership marketing, let’s make sure we are all on the same page as to what a thought leader is? While there are several definitions, a solid working definition is the following:
A thought leader is an individual or a company whose authority is honored and respected and whose comments, thoughts, and beliefs
are sought after by others.
Based on this definition, a study by LinkedIn and Edelman Communications has uncovered the following:
Decision-Makers consume thought leadership content to stay educated on the trends affecting their industries and to generate innovative ideas for their businesses.
Today, more than half (51%) of C-suite executives say they spend more time, consuming thought leadership content than before the pandemic began.
54% of Decision-Makers – and 48% of the C-suite – say they spend more than 1 hour per week reading and reviewing thought leadership content.
Percentage of Decision-Makers who say the following occurs sometimes or more frequently after engaging with a piece of thought leadership content:
- 42% — Invite the organization to bid on a project (even though that firm was not in their original consideration set)
- 48% — Award business to the organization responsible for thought leadership
- 53% — Decide to increase the amount of business they do with that organization
- 54% — Purchase a new product or service from the thought leadership organization even though they had not previously considered buying from that organization.
More Thoughts on Thought Leadership
- 60% of buyers say thought leadership builds credibility, especially when entering a new category or looking into a new brand where that brand is unknown.
- 57% of buyers say that thought leadership builds awareness for a new or little-known brand.
- 53% of buyers say it’s essential for new and small companies to produce thought leadership if they want buyers to consider working with them.
- 47% of buyers say thought leadership led them to discover and purchase from a company that was not considered to be among the leaders in a particular category.
Thought Leadership Caveat
We need to add one more thing. The researchers also found that thought leadership content can be a “double-edged” sword for an organization, especially when it is not done correctly.
Why? According to the study:
Thought leadership, when it was not high quality, insightful or relevant, sometimes led to them losing respect and admiration for [an] organization (45 percent of decision-makers and 53 percent of C-level executives, respectively).
It could also impact the amount of business [thought leadership organizations] are awarded, according to 30 percent of decision-makers and 35 percent of C-level executives. This indicates that thought leadership must be handled carefully when crafted and distributed.
To address this, thought leaders – individuals or organizations – must remember to publish thought leadership content that is:
- Relevant and applicable to current industry issues
- Provides engaging, challenging, and new insights.
- Digestible. Ensure the content provides data points, facts, charts, or surveys to clarify and support what is being discussed.
- Quotes trusted sources, which adds further credibility.
- Stays current about their industry and anything that might impact that industry.
SOURCE: 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Study Published by LinkedIn and Edelman Communications
More on the power of Thought Leadership Here