Lots of organisations talk about thought leadership, but it’s harder than you might think.
Thought leadership is a popular PR tool, but to gain real traction it needs work. It’s harder than you might think. The real expert is an individual or organisation that can provide new insight from its own evidence that changes the tone or direction of a debate. That means they dig deep into data or commission new research to create a compelling argument. Thought leadership as a PR tool is a time-honoured technique. Annual surveys are one of the most successful. Organisations can repeat a proven methodology and comment on how things have changed over time so that the survey and the analysis remain up to date.
Grant Thornton’s annual Women in Business report covers issues like boardroom quotas. The findings are summarised in blogs, social media posts and graphics to make them easy to use for stakeholders and media.
Real thought leadership should bring together ideas and expertise from across the organisation. A central committee should set a thought leadership strategy. That will involve asking searching questions of senior figures. The PR function has a key role to play here. The team will communicate the expertise as a story, relevant, topical and adding to the overall understanding of the subject.