"Thought leadership" is the new term for expertise. Customers and clients see your organization as innovative and forward thinking, and they turn to you when they have important questions. According to a LinkedIn survey, 50 percent of B2B respondents saw thought leadership as a primary goal of content marketing. It's also one effective way to stand out from your competitors.
Thought leadership takes many forms. It ranges from maintaining an active Twitter feed with relevant content about your industry to publishing a blog on your website to disseminating a weekly e-newsletter or speaking at a conference. Ultimately it entails establishing your franchise as a reputable leader in your field by voicing your opinions and expertise to an audience that is interested in them, whether that's your peers or your customers. If you haven't thought of using thought leadership as a marketing tactic, here are some thoughts to consider.
When consumers are comparing brands, companies that exhibit outward expressions of thought leadership (either through regular blog posts, an active Facebook feed, or an executive who posts a regular column on LinkedIn) are more likely to capture their attention and earn their trust than brands with a stagnant (or worse, outdated) website.
For example, if you run an electronics franchise, publish a blog with assessments of new technologies when they come out. You can attribute this to a key member of your team who would like to pen it, or publish it under a generic "staff" account. This will help you build a following with your customers, who will know to look to you for advice when buying new products or trying new services.
As the term implies, the critical purpose of thought leadership is to share your thoughts. Post your industry opinions on a blog (whether your own or on a platform like Medium) or a social media account (like Twitter or Facebook), which is essential in building consumer loyalty. (Be sure to avoid making these typical social media mistakes.)
When people come to know your name and view you as a thought leader, they'll share your opinions, follow your blog or e-newsletter, and visit your website. And the more people who know about your franchise, the larger the clientele you're likely to develop. Moreover, you may also attract the attention of other leaders in your industry who can help you grow your business, make important decisions, or get your franchise name out even further.
According to a study conducted by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, 88 percent of B2B consumers surveyed said thought leadership was important or critical when making a buying decision. And service companies like IBM and Deloitte have successfully used thought leadership as a strategy to package and share their best practices and case studies to improve their sales and foster business growth.
By presenting yourself as someone qualified to share an insightful perspective on your industry, your company will enjoy greater sales from consumers who trust your brand.
As you can see, it's critical to your business that you establish yourself as an expert with valuable insights. Once you've done so, customers will use your opinions to influence their buying decisions and rely on your business for their needs, leading to greater business growth and sales.
A targeted, quarterly magazine that takes CEO's, VPs and Sales Executives to the cutting edge of franchise development.