Thought leadership can be defined as an entry point to a relationship. It should help start a relationship where there is no existing one, and it should intrigue, challenge and inspire your audience and potential audience.
Thought leadership should be implemented when your business or organisation is being challenged to deliver the answers to the most important and relevant questions that are asked by your target audience.
So, what is a thought leader?
A thought leader is an individual or a firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, and even competitors recognise as one of the most significant authorities in their field of expertise.
Your level of authority as a thought leader is determined by how efficiently you answer the important questions that are asked by your audience.
Thought leaders are trusted sources who move and inspire people with their innovative ideas. They have the knowledge and experience to excel in their area of expertise, therefore, having the ability and confidence to achieve their goals. A firm will make a notable profit from having a thought leader.
So, how important is thought leadership for my business or organisation?
Whether you are operating a B2B or a B2C company, it is important for you to practice thought leadership.
There are a number of benefits of implementing thought leadership in your firm. By making use of the thought leadership process early on, your customers will get to know you and you will be present in their minds during the buying process.
Thought leaders are the people who create evolutionary and revolutionary advancements in their fields by urging others to be open to new ways of thinking and by creating a blueprint for others to follow with a method, process, guidelines or a set of best practices.
Thought leadership, however, often takes time to build up a reputation. In order to be a thought leader, you need to have an extensive knowledge of your area of expertise and a specific level of commitment to your role in the industry.
How important is your audience when establishing a thought leader?
A thought leader knows his or hers audience inside and out, and they make use of this knowledge to speak their audience’s language.
By learning how to adapt and act accordingly to your audiences’ behavior, you will find it easier to reach out to them. A thought leader is not pushy; instead they establish their ideas assertively and confidently, without being aggressive or intimidating.
Somebody who demonstrates thought leadership uses positive body language and uses an enthusiastic tone. By doing so, you manage to engage your audience and convince them that your conversation is valid.
He or she will also create a strong first impression and they will greet people by name.
A thought leader will create a strong first impression pleasing their audience is their priority focus.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a thought leader?
There are a number of benefits of becoming a thought leader. When you become a thought leader, you are recognised for having a whole new level of professional accomplishment and achievement, as well career and personal satisfaction.
There are, however, a small number of risks involved. One of the main risks is the fact that you will be in the spotlight, which means that you may face negativity or backlash, so you have to be prepared to handle this. Also, making the transition from leader to thought leader may be difficult.
It is also crucial that you have the power and authority to be a thought leader. Are you confident that you have the influence and power over your audience to keep them interested in your brand? You must demonstrate belief and conviction in your brand before you become a thought leader.