B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2072 · 5 months ago

5 Approaches to Corporate Thought Leadership


In this episode, Dan gives an update in his deep dive into Thought Leadership by sharing the different approaches companies are taking. 

So far, he's encountered these thought leadership marketing types:

  1. Anonymous Thought Leadership
  2. The Thought Leader Founder or CEO
  3. The SME Thought Leader
  4. The Thought Leader Group
  5. Collective Thought Leadership

Yeah, hello and welcome back to BTB growth.My name is dan Sanchez, my friends call me dan says and I am back with somemore information about thought leadership. Of course, I'm continuingthe journey into the deep dive into thought leadership marketing this month,but I'm doing a check in. I've done a number of episodes now. I've talked toa number of different practitioners, thought leaders on thought leadership,a few authors now and I've done a even a few solo episodes and book reviewsand different things like that. And after doing a number of interviews,I've discovered some new things, some things that I've learned even afterlike having read a bunch of books after talking to a bunch of differentpractitioners. I'm like, oh my gosh, there are so many approaches to thoughtleadership. So in today's episode, I wanted to highlight five differentapproaches I've seen to corporate thought leadership. This more has to dowith like positioning a company as a thought leader, but five differentapproaches on how to do it. So let's jump right into the five approachesI've seen thus far. And there might be...

...more, but these are the five that I'veseen. So the first one is what I'm going to call the anonymous thoughtleadership, right? It's company that's putting out a ton of thought leadershipcontent. And the authors of that content are relatively obscure, maybenot even known, like it might just be published by the company and there isno byline attached to it. Or there's a multitude of people and their names arereally small, if you can find them at all. But it's a company that's pushingout a lot of thoughts and ideas and they're not really tying it to any oneindividual or individuals. Any groups, they're just pushing it out. There isthe company. And uh that's good. But it's definitely, it's a different kindof approach where you're trying to position the company as a thoughtleader and none of the people within it. Um, so that's the first approach thatI've seen. The thought leadership. The second approach is the thought leaderas the founder and or Ceo right? This is like classic be like BBC startup,right? Where the founder is the leading person and maybe it's the moretechnical of the two founders or...

...something. But essentially as the faceof the company, they have the origin story, they have the thing that theyfigured out maybe there, the head of the agency with the new methodology,their pioneering, but they are the courageous founder and they are thethought leader leading the way with their new methodology, their newtechnology, their new point of view or whatever it is they're bringing, butit's very much focused on a single individual. So that's the thoughtleader founder or Ceo. The third one is what I'm calling the sme Thought Leader,the subject matter expert, Thought leader. And a lot of companies like theCeo of the founder probably isn't the technical genius behind what makes thecompany good, Right? So it might be a lot of different internal subjectmatter experts and this company can either have one person that's the kindof the main person or a group of them, but it's usually a smaller group andthey're usually experts in the field and are now being positioned as thoughtleaders because they're bringing some unique ideas to the table. Um UsuallyHively assisted by a content marketing...

...team that can take their expertise andthen turn it into thought leadership material for the company, but theirnames are more closely associated with it so that people so that there's somecredibility in the thought leadership, you know, where it's coming from, youknow, who's who the source of the information is. It's it's it's a littlebit more credible. Um So lots of companies are using this all over. Idid two interviews where the sme thought leader was a big part of theorganization. The fourth method is what I'm calling the Thought Leader group.There's quite a few companies that have a almost a a group of different peoplewithin the company that they've like classified as thought leaders. Theydon't always call them thought leaders, But they are thought leaders are thepeople that are essentially faces of the company or the brand their chosenfrom, within the company, they're groomed and polished and put out infront. Um and there's usually a good sized group, anywhere from 34 all theway up to. The largest one I've seen is...

...like 23 people. Um If you think of likeDave Ramsey, he's got a number of different personalities, he's callsthem, but they're, you know, they're thought leaders, they're pushingforward a very specific message and methodology. They're experts in theirspace and their in front of the microphone and the camera and writing alot of content. So that is the thought leader group, but it's a specific groupyou've called out in a groomed and have specific things, you hold themaccountable to and have expectations of them and they may or may not be fulltime thought leaders within the company, they might be actually externalcontractors, but they're associated with the group or they might even belike have a different role within the company, like they're the CFO, but theyhave this thought leadership expertise that they're producing that tends towork with the buyers. So that is the fourth method here that I've seen, andthe last one I'm calling collective thought leadership. I'm actually doingwith an interview even later today with James Carberry, who's kind of come upwith this term collective thought leadership, and that's the one we'reactually using here, Sweet Fish Media or want to use that Sweet Fish Media. Ithink we're still in the process of...

...kind of flushing out what this lookslike. Um But it's more than just a group of people. It's actually tryingto make everybody a thought leader, which some people say I've been toldthis is impossible to do, but I'm like, I think everybody has it in them, itkind of depends on their, you know, their hunger and their ambition, buteverybody has it in them to do some type of thought leadership thing andcan be at least begin walking down this path. You might call them more of atrying to activate your employees as brand evangelists. But I actually thinkthere is a there is something to be said for activating company wideemployees to be thought leaders for the brand big and small. So of course someof them will have a bigger authority, more expertise and be a bigger pie, aspokesperson for the platform, some will be less. And that is okay. Butthat is the fifth methodology I've seen for doing corporate thought leadershipmarketing where you're trying to position the company as a thoughtleader. Some at the very end of the spectrum, we started off with numberone being the least personable and the...

...fifth one being the most personablebecause there's more people. Right? So those are just some interestinglearnings that go throughout this deep dive. I'll be giving updates on this ifI find 1/6 or seventh version of this. But so far those are the five differentmethodologies I've seen or approaches I've seen to thought leadership umwithin B two B companies, one of the things we've learned aboutpodcast audience growth is that word of mouth works. It works really, reallywell actually. So if you love this show, it would be awesome if you texted afriend to tell them about it. And if you send me a text with a screenshot ofthe text you sent to your friend meta. I know I'll send you a copy of my book,content based networking, how to instantly connect with anyone you wantto know. My cell phone number is 40749033 to 8. Happy texting.

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