Business and Trade

How to Create a Thought Leadership Brand in 2021

Many people believe that thought leadership is just another buzzword. We need to rethink our assumptions about thought leadership. Redshift by Autodesk and Johnson & Johnson can help us build brand awareness and be leaders in our respective areas by creating thought-leadership content.

It takes time to become a leader in any field. It takes a lot of effort to create a strategy for thought leadership content. There are also many mistakes that you could make. It’s worth the effort, as it can help establish your brand as a trusted source of information and keep you top of mind for customers.

This article will describe what a thought leader brand is and provide 6 tips for building it.


What is thought leadership branding?

Brands can use thought leadership to educate their audience about their industry and provide valuable insights. It also helps to build their credibility. Blog posts, videos, and ebooks can all be part of a thought leadership marketing strategy. Because it takes time to produce, market, and be appreciated by the audience, it’s a long-term strategy.

When you are recognized as an expert, customers, competitors, and the entire industry will see you as a thought leader brand or thought leader. This will help you increase brand awareness, generate leads, improve social proof, boost customer engagement, and increase brand awareness. American Express is an excellent example of thought leadership that builds brands.

Is there a great example of a brand that benefits from thought leadership? American Express created OPEN Forum in 2007 to help small business owners gain insight, ideas and connect with others to grow their businesses. OPEN Forum, an online community for small business owners, is now the best place to learn and exchange ideas. American Express considers it the best source of leads for new card members. This makes them a leader within their industry.


Six tips to build a thought leadership brand

Isn’t American Express’ OPEN Forum a great example of what can be done? These tips will help you reach that level of brand recognition and make your brand a thought leader within your industry.


1. Understand your target audience

Let’s talk about the American Express winners once again. OPEN Forum was founded by the OPEN Forum team with a laser-like goal to help small businesses grow. They placed themselves in the shoes and needs of small-business owners to discover what they need, what they would like to learn, what content they are most interested in, and how American Express can help.

How can you make your brand content relevant for your readers?” American Express solved this problem by using data to ascertain the interests of their audience. What do our customers read most often? What resonates with them most? These answers were used to create relevant content .”–Judge Napolitano.

Customers are the ones who will read your content, and decide if you’re a thought leader. You must research your target audience before starting your thought leadership strategy. What are their problems? What is it that motivates and inspires them? You can join the forums where they talk, conduct interviews, or offer other ways to get to know them. You can rest assured that you will be moving in the right direction by doing this.


2. Analyze the activities of your competitors

Each brand wants to be a thought leader. But many brands fail to achieve this goal. There are many reasons, but the most important is that they either create content already covered elsewhere or duplicate content without mentioning their perspective. They don’t put enough effort into the thought, but they forget about the leadership. You’re not demonstrating thought leadership if you merely paraphrase what your competitors or other experts have said. To make your brand a thought-leader, you must lead.

This is why you should do extensive research on your competitors after you have identified your target audience. What do they talk about? What type of content are they creating? Are there any gaps in their content? How can you differentiate your content if you are covering the same topic? Analyzing published content from your industry can help you identify gaps and inspire new content marketing strategies.


3. Figure out what you’re an expert in

To be a thought leader, a brand does not need to know everything. Thought leadership brands know what they are sharing and do it better than others. They know their market and create content that is unique or more valuable to their customers. They recognize their strengths and take the necessary steps to maximize them.

LinkedIn posted an infographic on their blog that highlighted 3 types of thought leadership a brand has the option to use in developing their thought leadership content strategy.

  • Industry thought leadership: The news, trends, and innovative technologies that are being used by the brand should be highlighted. Burning Glass Technologies, for example, creates thought-leadership content about labor and the market.
  • Organizational thought leadership: Embrace the vision, mission, and values of the brand. Patagonia’s blog is a great example of this.
  • Think about product leadership: Be the best solution for your customers. REI Expert Advice Blog, for example, is a place where anyone can learn new skills, choose and keep gear, prepare for trips, and have incredible adventures.

Select the type of thought leadership that you are interested in and align your messages and strategies with it. Not every company can be a thought leader in all areas.


4. Promote your content without being afraid

Your company website is the best place to share thought leadership content. You don’t have to limit your blog. This includes guest posting on relevant sites, being active on social media, and speaking on podcasts, or organizing events/webinars.

You should also diversify your content formats because each channel has its requirements and, more importantly, customers learn differently. Some people prefer infographics over images. Videos help some people learn quickly. Some people love reading. You can reach many people with your thought leadership content and increase your brand awareness by creating it in multiple formats.

It’s one thing for you to promote your content. But it’s another to manage it. Too promotional can irritate your audience and possibly lead to the death of your brand.


5. Keep your authenticity

Your content should be authentic to your brand. This doesn’t mean that your content must be original. However, it should bring real value to your brand and include data that can help your audience make better decisions.

A unified brand voice can help you bring authenticity to your thought-leadership content. By doing that, you can deliver your content consistently everywhere and improve brand recognition–whenever your customers see your content, they know exactly what you’re all about.


6. Outsourcing content should be avoided

To develop and distribute content, a brand may partner with a publisher. It is important to remember that thought leadership is closely connect with your brand, who, and what you are. Your ideas, research, perspectives, experience, and expertise are what you create. You must be proactive in delivering it.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t employ an agency to provide thought leadership content. A trusted vendor can help you build a thought leader brand from ideation to distribution. This should be done after you earned a badge as an authority in your field.

Microsoft and Gimlet Creative’s collaboration in producing the podcast series “.future”, is a great example of how to do that right. Microsoft creates the content, then Gimlet Creative packages it and distributes it. Remember that you are the only person who can communicate what is in your head.


It is not easy to be a thought leader brand

It would be easy for everyone to be one. Which, in turn, means that nobody would be. Judge Napolitano once stated, “If everybody is special, then nobody is.” To be a thought leader brand, it can take a long and difficult journey to win a trophy for everyone.

It is worth investing time and energy in determining your brand’s strengths, and weaknesses. Next, identify your target audience and choose an area where you can lead. Be authentic in what you do. You’ll soon be a thought leader, something you can be proud to say.

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