INTERVIEWS WITH 12 EXPERTS                                                I asked 12 people who I consider to be leading g...
leadership marketing and salesCONTRIBUTORS                                                                                ...
QUESTION ONE:                                                                       and more professional services        ...
“I’ve noticed that traditional thought   message will need to become             “Clearly thought leadership has          ...
QUESTION TWO:                                                                           program has foundered on the rocks...
actually want unsolicited proposals         “You’ll probably want to hire empathic     possible to make decisions. Many fi...
QUESTION THREE:                                                                      admire your company as having        ...
article, acts on something in it. This        is diminishing. Pursuing the road      them overcome these it leads to theQU...
QUESTION FOUR:                                                                     “In the short term, curation is a way  ...
ROB LEAVITT                                 staples in thought leadershipQUESTION FOUR                “Definitely not.    ...
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Challenges facing thought leadership in 2012 12 experts


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Challenges facing thought leadership in 2012 12 experts

  1. 1. INTERVIEWS WITH 12 EXPERTS I asked 12 people who I consider to be leading global commentators on thought leadership as well as a couple who have produced some amazing thought leadership programs in-house over the years to comment on fourON THE CHALLENGES FACING critical thought leadership questions for 2012.THOUGHT LEADERSHIP IN 2012 Inspired by their answers I couldn’t help chipping in with my own thoughts. The interviewees include:Craig Badings is the author of “Brand Stand: seven steps to thought Bob Buday, Erica Klein, David Meerman Scott, Jeff Ernst, Rob Leavitt, Brittonleadership” and the blog Manasco, Dana van den Heuvel, Matt Church, Fiona Czerniawska, Dale Bryce,You can follow him on twitter @thoughtstrategy or join him on LinkedIn. Elizabeth Sosnow, Marte Semb Aasmundsen and me. Bob Buday, president of Bloom Group Matt Church, founder of the Global LLC, a firm that helps professional Thought Leaders Movement and services and other B2B companies creator of the Million Dollar Expert gain market leadership through Program. He is the author of 5 books thought leadership. including Thought Leaders and his latest Sell Your Thoughts Erica Klein, Thought Leadership Writer and Strategist Specializing in Elizabeth Sosnow, managing Financial and Technology Companies director of Bliss PR a business-to- business strategic public relations and marketing communications firm based in New York City [1]
  2. 2. leadership marketing and salesCONTRIBUTORS enablement solutions. Britton produces a thought leadership strategy blog Illuminating the Future and the executive journal, Elevation Quarterly. Jeff Ernst, is the Principal Analyst, Dale Bryce is the group manager Dana VanDen Heuvel is a marketing serving CMO and Marketing marketing for Sinclair Knight Merz consultant, author and speaker. Leadership Professionals at (SKM), a global strategic consulting, He is a recognized expert on Forrester Research and is probably engineering and project delivery blogging, podcasting, RSS, Internet best described as a thought leader in firm. He has been instrumental in communities and interactive B2B marketing and sales strategy their successful ‘client first’ thought marketing trends and best practices leadership approach as well as thought leadership Rob Leavitt is a B2B marketing strategist, specializing in issues- based marketing. He is currently Director of Thought Leadership at PTC, a $1 billion enterprise software firm. David Meerman Scott is one of the pre-eminent thought leaders on PR Marte Semb Aasmundsen, graduated Craig Badings – author of this e book and marketing. He is a marketing last year with her MSc Strategic and the book “Brand Stand: seven strategist, keynote speaker, Public Relations and Communications steps to thought leadership”. He is a seminar leader, and author of the Management at The University of consultant at Sydney-based Cannings #1 bestseller The New Rules of Stirling in the UK. Her thesis was on Corporate Communications. Marketing & PR (which has been thought leadership. published in 26 languages) and the Wall Street Journal bestseller Fiona Czerniawska is one of the Real-Time Marketing & PR. He foremost global authorities on recently launched his new online thought leadership, particularly in book: “Newsjacking: How to Inject the management consultancy space. Your Ideas into a Breaking News She is the co-founder of Source, a Story and Generate Tons of Media company specialising in researching Coverage”. the consulting industry Britton Manasco is the founder of Manasco Marketing Partners which specializes in creating thought [2]
  3. 3. QUESTION ONE: and more professional services ELIZABETH SOSNOWQUESTION ONE work – architectural and engineering “We expect the biggest change to WHAT WILL BE THE SINGLE BIGGEST CHANGE designs, consulting services, legal advice, accounting work, etc. – occur in the formatting of thought WE WILL SEE IN THOUGHT LEADERSHIP OVER moves to locations that can provide leadership. Companies are slowly beginning to recognize that traditional THE COMING YEAR/S? that expertise at far lower cost, thought leadership packages such as professional firms whose services “white papers” or “POV pieces” may aren’t fundamentally unique and not be nimble enough to survive in superior at delivering results won’t be today’s highly cluttered marketplace. able to maintain their fees. Thought leadership, then, becomes the “Winners will embrace an exciting BOB BUDAY “The change I’m expecting is that array of design opportunities, from organizations (especially firms that mechanism for de-commoditizing a “I’m not sure there will be any one e-books to cartoons and even songs.” sell expertise) will see the emerging commodity service.” major change in thought leadership in the coming year. I believe we’ll discipline of thought leadership JEFF ERNST continue to see small changes in not just as a marketing initiative ERICA KLEIN “I believe each company that “Companies will get frustrated that the ways that current and aspiring but also as a service innovation recognizes the value of thought even their most compelling thought experts create and market their ideas. initiative. By far, the largest return leadership will begin to develop a leadership ideas/Point of Views get that companies can generate from “Social media will continue to give us strategic blueprint that integrates lost in the noise in the market and thought leadership comes from ways to more easily conduct research these programs into the overall don’t stand out from what everyone not just displaying expertise on an (to find organizations to study), as framework of their business else is saying, so they will shift from issue but actually having superior well as more easily spread our ideas. development and marketing efforts. taking a “random acts of thought services that help clients solve the However, I don’t ever expect social leadership” approach (a webinar issue. I wrote about this in 2011 “I also think you’ll see more of media to supplant the old ways of here, a whitepaper there, a blog post) in a blog post (http:bloomgroup. an attempt to integrate LinkedIn gaining expertise on an issue (talking to a more methodical, orchestrated com/blogs/bob-buday/do-thought- individual profile pages with by phone and in person to people who approach. leadership-marketing-and-knowledge- company-wide thought leadership have dealt with the issue at hand) and management-relate). “This will require them to develop sharing that expertise with audiences initiatives, significantly increasing the impact of these programs over the a thought leadership platform in (seminars, books, whether online or “This is not the way most firms look long term.” a similar manner to how political print, management journals, online at and use thought leadership today. candidates develop a campaign or print). A handful of consultants may write an article or book based on some platform.” MATT CHURCH “So while I’m dubious that we will research and client work. But they then “The need for those who are true see a major change in the next year typically use the article and book to DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT thought leaders to be able to prove in the way companies create and generate more such work – not more “I’m big on real-time thought that depth of expertise in an efficient market content to educate their internal capability in their organizations leadership. By this I mean people manner. Many will claim the title of target audiences, I do expect to see to deliver more such work. or companies that can respond to thought leader but the challenge is a fundamental change in thought what’s going on now. For example if “Using thought leadership as R&D for those who are to be as equally leadership over the course of this there is a regulatory issue impacting for service innovation is the Holy obsessed with the development of IP decade, and I hope sooner rather their sector, can they comment on it Grail of thought leaders. As more as they are in the promotion of same.” than later. right away? [3 ]
  4. 4. “I’ve noticed that traditional thought message will need to become “Clearly thought leadership has of different digital formats andQUESTION ONE leadership content on the web is very more sophisticated. gained tremendous interest, support, social media for thought leadership campaign-like in its approach – it’s and investment in the last few years, purposes, rather than the pretty “Thought leadership initiatives planned well in advance. There is but we’re still very early in a maturity random experimentation that’s the lacking substance will no longer be nothing wrong with that, except that cycle. Many companies are still norm at the moment. But I do think recognized as thought leadership. the web is a very now medium and too getting a basic foundation in place in that 2012 will prove to be the year in few companies are taking advantage “I also think that the strategy will terms of defining issues to address, which a minority of consulting firms of this.” be more recognized globally, which creating a publication engine, will stand out in their ability to use opens up the opportunities for cross- enlisting subject matter experts, and these formats/media much more DALE BRYCE cultural thought leadership.” testing the social media waters. effectively.” “More will not be more! “All this is critical, but much of it is BRITTON MANASCO not actual “thought leadership” if by DANA VANDEN HEUVEL “With the proliferation of digital and “I spend most of my time working this term we literally mean “leading I believe that marketers are realizing social media platforms, distribution in the B2B arena, particularly with thoughts.” that thought leadership is really a of thought leadership will be easier. companies engaged in a complex “supply side” construct, and in order That’s good. But with this, impact “Many of us producing useful, non- sale. With regard to that type of to ensure that our thought leadership could be less unless we keep an eye promotional, educational content, company, I am seeing a definite focus efforts are valid in the marketplace, on quality and intent. but examples of more innovative on how to empower sales (as opposed we need to take a “demand side” “I have always thought that building to simply marketing) with thought and ground-breaking thinking is approach and focus not only on what and engaging with a select and loyal leadership. So, I will venture that more rare, and requires far more makes for great thought leadership, audience is the main game. Just think it’s a significant trend: positioning investment, discipline, and experience. but rather what makes for great of the power of presenting thought sales people as thought leaders and “As more of us get past the “attention leadership” where we’re leadership as a genuine and tailored trusted authorities. foundation stage, I expect a great attracting and maintaining the gift to a particular client: “We were deal more innovative work in next attention of our audience over time.” “To become thought leaders, thinking of you just the other day, few years.” they must also be challengers – and believe this piece here is really CRAIG BADINGS individuals who have the confidence relevant to you and your business.” FIONA CZERNIAWSKA “We will see more sophistication in and perspective to challenge the “Cheesy? It depends on your intent...” buyer’s status quo thinking. “There are lots of things I’d like to terms of focus, how thought leadership see change but am not sure will is researched, how it is targeted, “They must offer a new point of packaged and presented and how it is MARTE SEMB AASMUNDSEN actually happen: seeing consulting view – a new angle on things. They integrated into the sales process. “I believe that thought leadership firms produce less, but higher quality must be, in essence, provocateurs. is the future of communication and thought leadership and pulling more “Cloud computing will also present And they must be prepared to guide reputation management. of their output around a small number a big opportunity in showcasing and their prospective clients through a of over-arching themes would both ordering intellectual property but this “More and more companies have complex and demanding decision.” be high up my agenda, but that’s hard will be a longer term play. begun, and will continue, to realize to achieve in an environment where the potential of the strategy; the ROB LEAVITT volume still matters. “Finally I think thought leadership will competition within the thought “I think we’ll see another whole wave continue to gain traction as a strategic leadership realm will thus be of thought leadership development “I would also like to see firms business tool as opposed to a pure intensified and as a result, the and marketing. being more thoughtful in their use communications/marketing tool.” [4]
  5. 5. QUESTION TWO: program has foundered on the rocks DAVID MEERMAN SCOTTQUESTION TWO of project management and time “Typically marketing people spend FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT ARE THE management.” their time talking about products BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN GETTING A THOUGHT MATT CHURCH and services. The average marketing person is very good at doing things LEADERSHIP PROGRAM OFF THE GROUND? “Mediocrity! like brochures and advertising but they have great difficulty in providing “A thought leadership program is not thought leadership-type content that for the faint of heart, it’s not a short- has nothing to do with their products term trend or cool idea. It’s about or services. focussing on your best and brightest BOB BUDAY who are funding the program that they “In fact most of them are terrible at and communicating their uniqueness “It’s easy to get a thought leadership will need to commit sufficient time (no not talking about their products and to the internal and external audiences. program off the ground. Many firms quick miracle results) and resources services. Even a lot of the thought start by outsourcing a white paper (yes, budget, and as important people’s leadership campaigns out there time to participate in it) to the endeavor. ELIZABETH SOSNOW to a third party like my firm and currently contain too many product then do little else. In my experience, “Thought leadership projects almost “If they don’t, there will be initial and service mentions.” this rarely works because the always falter without a differentiated, excitement and eventual disinterest actionable idea. It’s pretty simple. If expectations are so high (“We DALE BRYCE as they find “that thought leadership you spend the time to get your ideas expect the white paper to generate white paper didn’t do much.” in order, the rest of program falls “The challenge in professional hundreds of leads quickly”) and the neatly into place. services is often to get the gurus to understanding of what it takes to ERICA KLEIN see the big picture. Ironic isn’t it? have an effective thought leadership “Another frequent challenge - finding program so low. “As a thought leadership writer the right thought leader. “Why?” is always a great first and consultant, I develop a detailed question to ask, or to answer. “These firms typically have little Project Brief for my clients upfront, “A good program requires an appetite for creating a thought something they generally don’t have articulate thinker who understands “It is a delight working with leadership machine because that takes enough time to do themselves, but how to inspire their audience segment. such brilliant people, in my case budget and time. Even more important, which can serve as a solid foundation Ideally, that thought leader actually engineering and before that the law, they don’t realize how much time for every step of the process. becomes the embodiment of the idea.” but even brilliant people need context. that their internal experts will need And that context usually needs to to spend on the program – in writing, “The single greatest obstacle in come from a deeper understanding JEFF ERNST developing their ideas, presenting them launching a thought leadership of clients and their business – their “The biggest challenge my clients publically, and in working with others to initiative is not having a detailed commercial and technical issues and face is getting the commitment capture their ideas. document that clearly articulates personal needs too. from senior management to make the desired results, expected budget “So I’ll change the question slightly and thought leadership a top priority and “We have been running a Client range, the list of key approvers and then answer it: The biggest challenge to allocate time from the subject Insights program for a while now. Our important influencers, content and to getting a highly effective thought matter experts in the company who clients are clearly telling us they want graphics development stages, and leadership program off the ground are needed to define the thought us to stay in touch, “not just take the realistic timeframes. (“effective” defined as generating leads leadership platform and develop the order”. They want someone to bring and revenue) is a recognition by those “Many a terrific thought leadership idea hierarchy.” forward valuable ideas. And, they [5]
  6. 6. actually want unsolicited proposals “You’ll probably want to hire empathic possible to make decisions. Many firms leadership can’t be sustained asQUESTION TWO that solve their problems. and proven content creators – people end up producing thought leadership an idea in the organization, it will who can produce interesting content in on too many areas because they’re never resonate with the market. “So, in terms of thought leadership, many formats and for many buyers.” afraid to choose. especially in professional services, 2. “I’m not a publisher” mentality. In time needs to be spent on the “Why?”, “The second (thorough research and order to be a successful thought ROB LEAVITT new insights) comes down to what leader, organizations need to both before we launch into the “What?”. And that can be a challenge. “I’m actually doing this myself these I term the ‘second day in the room’ think and publish. Yes, there’s more days so the question is far from syndrome: lots of firms are prepared to it, but good strong content is as the “Subject matter expertise is a given academic! to get their experts together for a day, core of a thought leadership program. in thought leadership. The key is but the firms that stand out in thought I hear from countless organizations “Three of the biggest challenges I’m connecting the dots, for clients and leadership terms are those who make who would like to ascend to the facing right now are turning general our thought leaders too. “ them go back in for a second day – and “expert in their industry”, thought interest across the organization into a focused program with agreed that’s symptomatic of a commitment leader or “trusted advisor” status MARTE SEMB AASMUNDSEN priorities, processes, and production; to research and investment. who just can’t get it together when it “It is absolutely necessary to get balancing the desire for ramping up comes to creating content. “The third and final point (appeal and backing from the board. Also, content production with the need to engagement) depends on recognition 3. “Differentiation in the marketplace. companies must understand that build serious, deep, and credible points that there’s a lot of (too much!) thought Taking a position as a thought true thought leadership takes time to of view on key customer issues; and leader requires that you have leadership out there and you have to build, and needs a great deal of work building a strong enough network of be brave if you’re going to stand out. true differentiation not only of and resources. relationships with customers and sales products but more importantly people to make sure the program is “So taking risks is a necessary part of “It must be well researched and align of ideas. Organizations need to truly focused on what is most useful doing thought leadership well.” with the perceptions and values of a be “original thinkers” in order to with those two key groups.” manifest thought leadership. While brand and their stakeholders.” DANA VANDEN HEUVEL I always believe that any business FIONA CZERNIAWSKA “I have seen a few hurdles that that’s been around for even a few BRITTON MANASCO typically keep an organization from “Where to start? The best thought years has found its differentiation, “If I switch to the marketing leadership comes down to picking thought leadership success: knowing that you’re different and perspective (as opposed to sales), I’d topical issues, researching them 1. “The confidence conundrum. In being able to articulate that in a say that the biggest challenge is the thoroughly to a point where you order to be a thought leader, an thought leadership position to the creation of relevant, compelling and have something new to say, and then organization’s leadership must market remains a challenge.” insightful content. writing the results up in an appealing have the confidence that they can “It’s best if you are strong at and engaging manner. CRAIG BADINGS pull off the thought leader posture drawing on outside and independent “The first of these (picking topical in the marketplace. If anyone on “Three things: if it’s not centred on perspectives – whether they come issues) depends on having a) a clear the leadership team feels that the your client issues and challenges it from market influencers or buyers/ view of what your clients are interested organization is under-qualified, will fail or at best limp along; a lack of practitioners. It takes rigor, discipline in – ideally more than a vague sense, then the idea of thought leadership resources to properly plan, leverage and a defined program to generate but something itself grounded in will smolder, so to speak, but and maintain your thought leadership content that works in an ongoing research – and b) a culture / decision- never really catch fire within the point of view; and a lack of commitment fashion. making process which makes it organization. Moreover, if thought from senior management.” [6]
  7. 7. QUESTION THREE: admire your company as having MARTE SEMB AASMUNDSENQUESTION THREE ground-breaking ideas and “Building expertise and reputation WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE OUTCOMES OF A incredibly insightful POVs on the critical issues your buyers face. internally and externally. Changing THOUGHT LEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN? industry standards and perhaps even drive paradigm shifts, and gaining 2. “People who engage with your thought leadership ideas are so influence and becoming industry inspired they immediately share leaders.” them with colleagues within “And I must add a fourth point; their company and within their stakeholder engagement. Thought professional and social networks. leadership encourages two-way BOB BUDAY MATT CHURCH 3. “Prospective customers knock on communication and is therefore a “One, increased awareness by “One, talent retention, attraction and great way to include stakeholders in your door, already philosophically your target audience that your firm development. the decision-making process.” aligned with your company’s possesses some expertise and a “Two, business growth through approach to solving their problems, higher number of inquiries about it positioning activities in the ready to engage with your sales BRITTON MANASCO “Two, higher and faster close rates marketplace. executives.” “That would be: customer awareness because of the ability to far better (as measured by marketing qualified “Three, innovation around process demonstrate to a prospect that you DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT leads); customer engagement (as and professional subject matter indeed do have the expertise you expertise.” “First, content will be shared if it measured by sales qualified leads); claim to have. is valuable. People will share it on and customer commitment (as “Three, higher fees because of the ELIZABETH SOSNOW twitter, Facebook, blogs and the like measured by closed deals). ability to differentiate your expertise, with the result your content will reach “One, new or deepened relationships “SiriusDecisions has done a good job and thus higher and more profitable far more people. with prospects or customers. of articulating the relevant metrics.” revenue from your work.” “Second, people will subscribe to “Two, better defined competitive your content either whether that is via ROB LEAVITT positioning. ERICA KLEIN e mail, RSS feeds, etc. They’ll want “Increased credibility with customers “For my financial and technology “Three, holistic “glue” that integrates more if you do a good job. and market influencers (analysts, clients, the most sought-after previously siloed marketing bloggers, media, etc.) that the “Finally, it will brand your outcomes are: programs.” company is an important voice on organisation as one worthy with “One, generating revenue from which to do business. People will the issue; new relationships and JEFF ERNST seek you out if you’re smart about opportunities with customers focused both new prospects and existing “When you go from thinking of providing content that educates and on forward thinking solutions; customers thought leadership as a campaign helps them solve their problems.” and increased internal support “Two, building reputation and brand to thinking of it as a cornerstone of for a thought leadership-oriented as insightful, innovative thinkers, and your go-to-market strategy, you can approach to the market.” DALE BRYCE lest we forget; expect to have these outcomes: “Client engagement, reputation “Three, establishing the boss as a 1. “Customers, prospects, building and winning the work you FIONA CZERNIAWSKA thought leader!” influencers, and competitors want to win.” “A client who, having read your [7]
  8. 8. article, acts on something in it. This is diminishing. Pursuing the road them overcome these it leads to theQUESTION THREE may be quite a small, apparently of the thought leader, over time, second outcome – differentiation. insignificant action (forwarding an builds tremendous momentum “Your thought leadership needs to email to a colleague) but all of our that can continue to propel an differentiate your brand from the research indicates that any action organization’s message long after competition. increases the chance that the ideas the original piece of content was in the article and the firm associated published. “Finally it should position you as the with them will be remembered. go to expert in your field and with 2. “Quicker cycle times. In our that comes that all important brand “A partner/consultant making a trip to experience thought leadership quality – trust. see a client. We tend to think that the actually helps the customer outcomes of TL should be external, decide (as opposed to helps the “I have created a list of 70+ thought but there are huge benefits to organization sell) who is best leadership benefits on my blog if you articles/reports etc, which galvanize for them based on the advance want to take a look account managers and partners to knowledge they can obtain about” visit their clients, taking the material an organization and how they with them and explaining to their think, act and work via their client in person why it’s relevant to content. them. 3. “Category of One companies. “The ability to own an issue. Thought I’m a fan of Joe Calloway’s book leadership should be good enough “Becoming a Category of One” to ensure that, on a particular issue, and I believe that the thought your firm will always be on the leadership approach allows an shortlist because you’re seen as the organization to tell a customer- pre-eminent experts in that field.” centric story in a way that positions that organization as the DANA VANDEN HEUVEL only one telling that story and give “I like to refer back to my original that organization an opportunity “thought leadership marketing to be seen as truly unique.” equation” and state that Share of Voice, Share of Mind and Share of CRAIG BADINGS Market are the key outcomes of any “For me the most powerful is the thought leadership campaign, but I emotional connection you forge with have a few others that I believe are your client. critical. “If, as a result of your thought 1. “Marketplace momentum. leadership campaign, your clients or Thought leadership is cumulative your target audience get a sense that where an advertising or you really get them and the issues promotions-centered approach they face and that you are helping [8]
  9. 9. QUESTION FOUR: “In the short term, curation is a way conversation starter; a catalyst to aQUESTION FOUR to signal to your audience that you real dialogue about how people might CAN CONTENT CURATION ALONE TURN understand industry trends and “what’s ahead.” However, longer react and respond to the idea just placed on the metaphorical table. AN INDIVIDUAL OR COMPANY INTO A term, curation signals a “me, too” And from that first conversation, big THOUGHT LEADER? marketing posture. things can come….!” “True thought leadership requires differentiation to succeed, so curation MARTE SEMB AASMUNDSEN just isn’t enough.” “No, I don’t think so. “I think content curation may perhaps BOB BUDAY customers real, quantifiable value. JEFF ERNST be a reason why critics are inveighing “No – especially if all you do is collect “True thought leadership can do so “No, content curation alone is not against thought leadership in the first articles. There are tons of automated much more for a company than round enough to be a true thought leader. place. ways to do it without a human up content at the OK Corral!” intermediary – Twitter feeds, Google “For people to trust you to curate “Of course it is a useful way of alerts, etc. or filter content for them, they need identifying and re-branding an issue. MATT CHURCH But I think the trend will be to move to already view you as an authority “At the very least, content curators “In the next 36 months maybe. But and trust that you are able to filter towards more sophisticated thought need to provide more value to after that those who synthesise, through the noise to deliver the leadership initiatives. For that to readers than simply identifying and aggregate and curate Thought content that is most useful to them. happen, a thought leader must be collecting content on a topic. They Leadership will lose position. It’s authentic. need to explain why some piece of about extending the conversations content is worth someone’s time – DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT “Authenticity, transparency and trust or contradicting them. This means what new light it sheds. “No. While content that is interesting are values that will become even you have to go beyond ‘here is a good will be passed on, I am a perfect more important in the coming years.” “Yet still, even if you add that kind idea’ and start to say ‘here is what I example as I tweet interesting of value – providing commentary think about X idea’. content, however, some component of BRITTON MANASCO on interesting content – playing the “It’s about contribution and original content is important. role of content curator doesn’t go far “Yes, but only if they are a skilled contradiction as ways of extending curator. enough to demonstrate that you are a “Content simply created by others is an idea. A reader reads a book and leading expert on a topic. not nearly as valuable.” “Among other things, I have goes ‘cool’, a curator reads an idea “All to say there are no short cuts in and goes ‘how can I share that?’ a billed myself as a “connoisseur of Thought Leader reads an idea and DALE BRYCE contrarians.” I seek out unexpected becoming a thought leader.” goes ‘What do I think about that?’ “Content curation is an essential perspectives and provocative ingredient in the overall mix that is points of view. By tapping into their ERICA KLEIN ELIZABETH SOSNOW thought leadership. contrarian insights of others, I’m “This may be totally self-serving able to generate content for my on my part, but I think aggregating “I love this question – it’s one I’ve “Great content needs to be relevant clients that truly resonates with their content marks a company as a “me debated myself. I think the short of course but it should act as a social customers. too” provider and not a distinctive answer is “yes,” but the long answer lubricant for engagement with an brand able to offer prospects and is “no.” audience. Ideally content is just the “I’m thrilled that I can get paid to do it.” [9]
  10. 10. ROB LEAVITT staples in thought leadershipQUESTION FOUR “Definitely not. discipline with their “seven fundamentals of a thought “Curation is useful both internally (for leadership point of view”, which education and customer/competitive/ every would-be thought leader market perspective) and externally (to should use to check their work. build interest, traffic, and credibility) Moreover, “novelty”, that is, saying but it is no substitute for your own something new about an issue and content and conversation that provide “validity”, having proof, are two of strong and different points of view. the most critical points of a thought “I’m all for curation initiatives but leadership position. strictly as a complement to your “Curation satisfies neither of those.” own more substantial research, publications, and presentations. Done well (which itself requires a great CRAIG BADINGS deal of work), curation can help you “Find me one recognised thought become a useful and valued resource leader who has attained their position for information and ideas, but if they as a result of curating content only. are not your own ideas you are still “If you can I will be convinced that not a thought leader.” content curation can create thought leaders. DANA VANDEN HEUVEL “No, it can’t. “The very nature of the term ’thought leadership’ implies original, creative “I’ve seen a lot of back and forth on or innovative thought. In contrast, Twitter this year about this, but at the curating content implies that you end of the day, curation is helpful and are not the original generator of that even essential. content and therefore cannot claim “I often tell my clients that the to be a thought leader off the back best leaders don’t always have the of it. answers, but they know where to get “That said, I believe that curated them, which is how the thought leader content can play a very important should approach curation. Know role in supporting and informing a where to get good content, know who thought leadership content program. to trust and know what your audience CONTACT: Craig Badings Furthermore, if the person curating values but never think for a second T: +61 (02) 8284 991 the content arrives at new ideas or that curation = thought leadership. E: insights as a result of that content “The Bloom Group has articulated, then it could be construed as thought BLOG: what I believe, to be one of the leadership.” TWITTER: @thoughtstrategy [ 10 ]