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Thought Leadership: Bringing the human back into business

PART 1: The people factor — why we need thought leadership

I joined the communication world because I am a true people person. People are a constant source of inspiration and interest for me, and no matter how digital or technologically advanced our world becomes, I still believe in the amazing power of face-to-face meetings, one-on-one discussions and person to person communication.

At the end of the day, it is not a brand, a company or an organisation that earns my trust; it is the people behind it. How visible they are, how involved they are and how close to the surface they sit is a defining factor in how much I feel connected with that company. This is especially true in the Middle East, where relationships and mutual trust have always played an important cultural role in doing business.

In this context, businesses cannot afford to neglect ‘thought leadership’ — the practise of building a personal brand and harnessing the power of knowledge sharing to fuel growth, open up new opportunities and build trust. This is the bedrock of all successful businesses as it is essential for instilling long-term confidence in employees, stakeholders, investors and consumers.

If you’d like to know what a ‘thought leader’ is, then you need look no further than His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He puts his leadership into action every day by launching initiatives that communicate his vision for the UAE and its people, as well as the wider world. ‘Arab Hope Makers’, which recently honoured people in the Arab world who are dedicating their lives to helping others, is an excellent example. Through this initiative, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sent a message of hope across our entire region and inspired people to embrace the UAE’s humanitarian vision.

As PR professionals, how can we learn from his example and help to position clients as leaders in their industries? In the next part of my blog, I’ll be exploring key elements of an effective thought leadership strategy.

Tariq Al Sharabi is Managing Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA. |www.cbpr.me