Thought leadership: A fuzzy term defined differently for different contexts. I think of it as the ability to set the direction (or vision) for an industry, a concept, a business model, or achieving success in any serious endeavor. Set the direction smartly and others will follow.
In business, #ThoughtLeadership is about setting the tone for your competitors. It can keep you out in front of them—and it can be an invaluable tool to win over customers and keep them interested.
If you’re in a #B2B market, thought leadership can make a huge difference. It can be a competitive differentiator, shining a light on your objectives, how you #innovate, and the seriousness of your approach.
1. Focus thought leadership efforts as part of the broader #EngagementModel for your top customers.
2. Move the conversation beyond products, your business—and even their business. Talk instead about macro-trends in your industry, big technology ideas, the #economy, business strategy, or even politics (with care).
3. Use this approach to engage customers in a dialog they’ll never get anywhere else.
4. Embedding this in your top executive council is a great start.
Customers will see you differently and give you truly strategic feedback. And they’ll come back.
Also be sure to read Steve Olenski’s Thought Leadership Is Not For Who You Think It Is which offers the not-so-gentle reminder that just because you call yourself a thought leader doesn’t mean you are one.