We hear the term thought leadership mentioned so much these days, so I thought it would be productive to explore what it means, its business value and how you can become a thought leader.
This is a series of posts about thought leadership. This first post talks about what thought leadership is and what makes a thought leader. The second post will discuss the value of thought leadership and how to become a thought leader.
What is thought leadership?
Thought leadership is presenting provocative ideas that stimulate thinking and inspire action. When done correctly, it can enhance your brand and expand the conversation about you and your brand in your market.
Some people like Daniel Rasmus think thought leadership is about big ideas, but I think it can as simple as initiating and leading a discussion about powerful and valuable (and breakthrough) ideas among your customers and influencers.
In sports and wellness sectors, it can as simple as provocative ideas like these, which pose a problem and present solutions:
- Why young professionals won’t ski again.
- How golf isn’t fun anymore.
- Sports safety shouldn’t be for coaches.
- Cardio exercise should be avoided at all costs because….
- Your PT knows 5 things you will never know about your body.
What is a thought leader?
A thought leader is the foremost authority on a subject who invests time to know, understand and interpret the insights and ideas that motivate customers and influencers might very well change market attitudes and behaviors. Russ Prince and Bruce Rogers punctuate foremost in this Forbes post. Shel Israel, believes a thought leader is also a futurist who sets the course tomorrow.
A thought leader will disrupt a market. In sports, think Nike’s Founder Phil Knight of Nike and Taylor Made Adidas Group CEO Mark King (see HackGolf). In technology and business, Steve Jobs was all-world.
But also think about smaller and popular brands like SeeMore, whose owner Jim Grundberg who fueled the conversation about the downside of banning belly putters. His thoughts produced a range of opportunities to build his and SeeMore’s exposure and credibility in the golf market.
Companies are not thought leaders but can embrace thought leaders and leadership. The most innovative are often driven by a thought leader.
Do you have a thought leader and promote thought leadership within your organization?
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