The importance of thought leadership

Communication is a critical component of business leadership, and it comes in different forms. There are the direct, immediate messages and conversations associated with marketing and customer engagement, but there is also a more strategic communications component, one commonly referred to as thought leadership. I enjoyed a recent survey and report by Kite Global Advisors that looks at the role of thought leadership and it's growing importance to business.

In attempting to define what thought leadership is, Kite found a common characteristic is long-term orientation. Rather than focusing on driving a sale in the near-term, thought leadership seeks to build a sustained engagement with an audience, to help build relationships with a wider group of stakeholders.

The research identified four primary objectives for this type of communication: brand building, making a difference in the world, engaging the workforce, and supporting marketing strategy. (see graphic, below)

It also raises interesting questions, looking at the kinds of issues being covered and combining that with the view that thought leadership is increasing in importance -- what does this say about the future direction and priorities of business?

-- Bruno Roche

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