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5 Steps to a Great Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy

By Karthik Nagendra (1107 words)
Posted in Marketing & Innovation on November 21, 2013

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You believe in the potential of thought leadership marketing. You know it can be a game changer. You see it working wonders for businesses all around. But, wait a second: How do you make it work for yourself?


Thought leadership marketing needn’t be an intimidating task. Like much of life, success in thought leadership marketing boils down to having clarity of thought and purpose. Here’s a five step ready-reckoner to help you get started to establish your thought leadership footprint:


5 Steps to a Great Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy


1. Identify your ‘big idea’.


Do you have anything unique to share? If yes, do you think that it can be your competitive differentiator? If yes, again, then do you feel that this specific product, service or ideology will provide value to your target audience? If the answer, once again, is ‘yes’, then yell ‘hurray!’ You’ve found your ‘big idea’! The ‘big idea’ is the soul of your organization. It is the core around which all activities revolve. So identifying the ‘big idea’ is the very first step towards defining your thought leadership marketing strategy.


2. Check if your branding + marketing + organizational strategies are aligned to your ‘big idea’.


Once you have discovered the core of your business existence in the form of a ‘big idea’, you need to market it effectively. Take a bird’s eye view of the organization and see if the collective organizational effort is directed towards marketing the ‘big idea’ or not. All the associated activities such as branding, marketing and advertising must be aligned accordingly.  


No point in directing funds toward a jazzy product that is not aligned with your larger branding strategy, is there? Like Philip Knight, founder of Nike said, “We wanted Nike to be the world's best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus. You don't end up making wing tips or sponsoring the next Rolling Stones world tour.”  


3. Re-align all organizational goals to nurture your ‘big idea’.


An idea is like a seed. It needs nurturing. Unless you focus on making it grow, your idea will remain just that: an idea. If you want your ‘big idea’ to manifest into tangible business results, you need to water it, sun it and turn the soil. In other words, you need to re-align all your organizational goals to boost your ‘big idea’. 


This might mean opting out of the rat race to develop the smartest mobile phone app ever. Or not chasing the sales team to break sales records. In fact, some of the steps that you might need to take may seem downright anti-business! But the magic word here is ‘relevance’. Be warned, progress at this point might seem slower. But any relevant growth, however small, would be more meaningful as you take in the bigger picture and aim for the long term target. 


4. Identify channels, platforms and collaborations to strengthen, project and share your ‘big idea’ from.


Here’s a tip: To make thought leadership marketing a success, quadruple your focus on initiating collaborations, detecting platforms and identifying channels to share your ‘big idea’. Why? Because to introduce anything new, you will need to expend a lot more energy and time as compared to entering a pre-existing market. 


Simply announcing your idea on your company webpage or through a press meet wouldn’t be sufficient. You will need believers, supporters and influencers. You need to catalyze a tide of belief in your idea that will build up slowly yet surely in the long run. Therefore the earlier you begin, the more momentum you will gain as time passes.   


5. Define your content marketing strategy to complement your ‘big idea’.


Content is to thought leadership as air is to sound. It is the medium through which you communicate and share your ‘big idea’. Content marketing goes one step further, and helps transform readers into buyers of your idea. To unleash the tremendous potential of content marketing, sculpt it so as to project your thought capital in the best possible manner. 


Look at the big picture and build your image. Refrain from selling and share actionable information instead. Leverage the channels of content marketing to engage with your target audience. Build a relationship with them and treat them as an extended family. The math is simple: share value to be valued. That would help you differentiate yourself in the market over the long run.



“The future you see is the future you get,” says best-selling author Robert G Allen. What future do you see for your organization? Is your horizon limited to annual plans or five year goals? Can you look beyond just profits to the human element that triggers profits? If you can think big, then dive deeper. Unearth your ‘big idea’ and set the ball rolling to claim your thought leadership. 



{#/pub/images/KarthikNagendra.jpg}Written by Karthik Nagendra, Founder & Director of ThoughtLeaders. With more than a decade of core marketing experience with prime focus on brand positioning, communication strategy, executive communication & thought leadership marketing, Karthik & his team help businesses transform from sellers to influencers by helping them unearth their 'big idea' and thus brand them as experts in their field. He has authored papers & articles on thought leadership marketing in international journals & has been a guest speaker at the Wharton Business School, UCLA, Duke University among other Ivy league Universities globally.



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Here are some related articles you may be interested in: 


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