6 Steps to Build a Thought Leadership Brand in 2022

How to Build a Thought Leadership Brand

Thought leadership is not just a buzzword. Companies like Redshift by Autodesk, Johnson & Johnson, and MR PORTER’s Journal have successfully built brand awareness and become leaders in their respective fields through thought leadership content. Building a thought leadership brand requires strategic planning and avoiding critical mistakes. However, if done right, it can establish your brand as a reputable source of information.

A thought leadership brand educates its target audience, provides valuable insights, and builds credibility. This can be achieved through various forms of content, such as blog posts, videos, ebooks, reports, social media sharing, webinars, podcasts, or conferences. Thought leadership is a long-term strategy that requires time and effort to produce, promote, and engage the audience.

Once you establish yourself as an expert, you become a thought leadership brand. This increases brand awareness, generates more leads, improves social proof, and boosts customer engagement. American Express is a prime example of a brand that has succeeded in thought leadership. Their OPEN Forum has become a go-to source for small business owners to exchange ideas and learn from each other, becoming the number one source of leads for new cardmembers.

To build a thought leadership brand, follow these six practical tips:

1. Understand your target audience: Research your audience’s pain points, questions, motivations, and inspirations. Join platforms where they discuss, conduct interviews, and gather insights to ensure your content meets their needs.

2. Analyze what competitors are doing: Avoid creating content that is already covered well by others. Analyze your competitors’ content to find gaps, get inspired, and develop unique ideas for your own strategy.

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3. Figure out your expertise: Identify your niche and focus on providing new, unique, or more valuable insights to your customers. Decide whether you want to focus on industry, organizational, or product thought leadership.

4. Promote your content: Share your thought leadership content on platforms like your website, social media, guest posts, podcasts, and events/webinars. Diversify your content format to cater to different types of learners.

5. Maintain authenticity: Ensure your content aligns with your brand’s values and brings real value to your audience. Develop a unified brand voice to improve recognition and consistency.

6. Be cautious with outsourcing content: Partnering with an agency can assist in developing and distributing content, but ensure that your ideas and perspectives are communicated authentically. Collaborations, like Microsoft and Gimlet Creative’s podcast series, demonstrate successful partnerships.

Becoming a thought leadership brand is not easy, but it is worth the investment of time and energy. Determine your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, identify your target audience, choose a specific area to lead in, say something new, and maintain authenticity. Eventually, you will become a thought leader that you can be proud of.

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