How to be like IBM: Using thought leadership to build your brand | Milner Strategic Marketing

How to be like IBM: Using thought leadership to build your brand


Thought leadership is the current ‘hot topic’ in marketing, and I recently came across a website (White Space) that ranks thought leaders and gives some great examples of best practice to follow. Unsurprisingly, giants IBM and the Boston Consulting Group top the leaderboard, but White Space’s evaluation criteria gives some great pointers for anyone looking to develop their own thought leadership and content marketing campaign.

Why thought leadership is so important
Thought leadership is the creation and distribution of relevant content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive positive customer actions.  The insights from thought leadership can be used as a compelling reason to engage with your customers and increase sales. Because you’re discussing topics that are relevant to customers, you will be providing them with real value and they will think of you as a leader in the industry. This means you have great reasons to call on potential customers and open up a conversation, which supports your company’s sales and revenue growth.

Thought leadership is relevant throughout the sales cycle: it helps identify target customers by supporting search engine optimisation; provides great landing pages for pay per click engagements, gives insights for you to share through PR and allows content to be distributed to a worldwide audience through social media.

Three steps towards an effective thought leadership strategy
At Milner, we have designed a 3-step process of executing a thought leadership programme. In our experience, this is a comprehensive approach and provides content that generate interest from the industry.

Best practice in thought leadership

As well as just creating the content, you need to ensure the content is of a high quality.  This ensures it will build your company’s brand and be a valuable asset to you. White Space evaluates thought leadership based on 4 quality criteria:

  1. Differentiation – is the subject topical and challenging current thinking?
  2. Appeal – compelling prose, great presentation and memorable
  3. Resilience – extensive quantitative or qualitative research, outstanding analysis and commentary by respected experts
  4. Prompts action – clear, actionable next steps and the firm has a unique way of helping with this topic

I hope this has given you some ideas and guidance for your potential thought leadership campaign. So if you want to see your content on the White Space leaderboard – it’s time to get started.

About the author:
Jonathan Davenport is Head of Market Analysis and has particular experience of using market and competitor analysis to support strategy development. He works for Milner Strategic Marketing, a business consultancy that helps companies grow their value by delivering a range of services from strategic management consultancy through to specific marketing programmes.

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