The term ‘thought leadership’ has become common-place in the public relations industry and clients are increasingly interested in attaining the title. In response, I conducted research to uncover more insights into this buzzing term.
Thought leaders are generally trusted individuals who inspire people with innovative ideas and are able to share how their success may be replicated irrespective of their background, age, gender or ethnicity. Thought leadership takes time, sometimes years to build, and it gets easier to become one once you have something newsworthy to address or talk about, like a great product, service, programme, or initiative. Once you achieve the status of a thought leader, you can persuade and inspire people and spread positive vibes and willingness to achieve set goals.
Thought leaders are not born as such, and despite the occasional natural speakers, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration when identifying qualified individuals. Here are a few important characteristics thought leaders are defined by:
I will now shed light on effective ways that may be employed to become an effective thought leader in the industry and among industry peers:
How may we work on bettering ourselves to become the leaders of tomorrow in our industries of choice?
What I didn’t reveal is how complex, stamina-busting and often challenging thought leadership can be. It does not happen overnight and it is a shifting, changing endeavour because it must constantly evolve to current trends and topics in the client’s sector, in the region or even on a global level. Real thought leadership is an ongoing calendar that never ends, but there are five key constants that I would like to share with you:
If you have another look at His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, you will find that all of these elements are working in harmony to share his vision with the world. Inspired by his example, I believe that, above all, the question should not be ‘what can thought leadership do for me’, but instead:
‘What can my thought leadership do for others?’
When thinking about your business, an essential to its success is how popular your brand is in the market. Without exposure and visibility, nothing you have to offer will be considered valuable because no one would know much about you or the services/products you provide.
This is why it’s crucial to learn what brand advocacy means and how brand advocates must be gained to further one’s ascent on the market ladder.
Put simply, brand advocacy defines how people, ranging from influencers to fans to employees who know and like your brand will keep supporting and promoting your company, product, or service to new customers. This will expand upon your visibility, which will increase your revenue and influence.
Having brand associates works better than traditional corporate publicity because consumers are usually more trusting of their own peer-network, such as family members, friends, or people they follow online.
Now that we have a better understanding of the term, let’s discuss why brand advocacy is considered crucial for any business to succeed.
Other than increasing your visibility, your product or service’s value will also increase through brand advocacy, as reliable individuals in your circle will spread the word to future customers or clients through genuine reviews and recommendations. Today, customer reviews hold as much value, if not more, than a business’ own promotional campaign. Therefore, it will further your company’s success and lead to a wider client network.
Another key point to why brand advocacy is important is that the media will take notice. In a sense, your business will get more coverage through various media outlets, resulting in a revenue boost and consequently, a stronger market grasp.
Lastly, while many around you are keeping busy talking about your brand, you will have more free time on your hands to focus on business development. You may try new things, come up with ideas and strategies, or even deal with new clients whom you now have spare time to impress.
Here are four simple steps to follow:
Khaled Abu Hishme is Account Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me