Thought leadership has been one of the newest buzzwords in the C-Suite over the past years. With companies focusing more on blogging and social media it’s now easier than ever for C-Suite Executives to engage and discuss the company’s and industry’s direction.
However, not all C-Suite Executives have been forthcoming about providing insight or perspective on what’s taking place in the marketplace. Some C-Suite Executives haven’t bought into the benefits that thought leadership offers and are hesitant to make the investment of time and resources to get started.
Here are 4 Ways that Thought Leadership can lead to more revenue:
1) Public Relations (PR)
Although it’s sometimes challenging to see how writing regular blog posts or producing an online “Company Update” can benefit a company, it’s easy to see how large events like Apple’s product announcements have taken on a life of their own. Analysts, competitors, and consumers all take note, and listen to every word, trying to determine what’s next for the company and what their product roadmap is. These product releases and roadshows create a lot of publicity for the company and also create a buying frenzy focused around the expected time of the product’s availability.
Becoming a thought leader sometimes means allowing those outside the company more access, but this high level of transparency can help promote products and services and create a more intimate relationship with customers, which should contribute to generating more revenue.
2) New Relationships
One of the most touted aspects of becoming a thought leader is that it elevates one’s position within the industry and provides additional opportunities for networking and public speaking. This ability to share insights with the market creates opportunities to form new relationships that might not have existed in the past.
For instance, after writing a blog post about how expansion into Asia is of prime importance to the company’s long-term growth, there is a comment on the blog about how working in Asia requires special manufacturing permits, and that it’s best to work with a manufacturing company based in Asia to acquire these permits. Granted it might be unwelcome or already known advice but it creates the possibility of developing a new relationship. These new relationships can help to spawn new products, new markets, or simply provide feedback.
As an industry thought leader it’s now possible to move from one of many in a crowded room to the one that everyone wants to get to know and be associated with. Industry conferences are where to find many industry thought leaders as they are typically the ones being featured as keynote speakers and panelists. Each of these sessions is filled with those eagerly awaiting the words from these speakers’ mouths. After they are done speaking, reporters and others that follow the industry are lined up to ask more questions of these speakers. This desire for association with the thought leaders in the industry also carries over to the products and services offered by the thought leaders’ companies.
It’s human nature to want to associate and buy from those seen as winners or looked on favorably by others. By becoming an industry thought leader, it carries over to a company’s products and services. Steve Jobs is a great example of the power of association. As Jobs turned Apple from a computer manufacturer to a consumer electronics giant, with the addition of MP3 players and the iPhone, his leadership in the space carried over to the desire of consumers to be part of his vision and to own these new products.
4) Employee and Senior Manager Buy In
Even in the smallest of companies, it’s difficult for senior leadership to communicate the company’s strategy and insights on market factors to each of the company’s employees and senior management. Even if it’s not an extremely detailed update on the company’s direction, it can help employees and senior management understand more about the company and where it’s headed by having an “enlightened leader” that shares information and doesn’t keep everything to themselves. This type of thought leadership can be seen as more of “thought sharing” and doesn’t necessarily have to be public.
However, this type of thought leadership and communication with one’s own team can go a long way in making a team more productive, accountable to a company’s goals and increase revenue.
What You Can Do Today
There are many ways to get started on the path to becoming a well- respected industry leader. From blogging to public speaking, there are many things that can be done and they all have a common thread. This common thread is communication. By becoming a thought leader and communicating with employees, consumers, and industry experts, more interest is created in a company’s product and can help to solidify its position in the market and increase revenue.