5F APPROACH TO THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Karthik Nagendra, CEO, ThoughtStarters & Co-founder, Pink Ladder writes about the 5F framework of though leadership which can help organizations position themselves as thought leaders in the minds of their clients

22 Apr, 2019 by KARTHIK NAGENDRA

Here’s the thing. You cannot claim to be a thought leader. However, if you’re a thought leader, it’d be sinful not to claim your leadership. Get it? If we look beyond content marketing, we live in an imperfect world where braggers get noticed, loudness is passed off as knowledge and packaging often wins over the product. In such an unequal world, you can’t depend on your audience to correctly choose your ‘thought capital’ over others’. And… oh, do they even know you exist?

The current business landscape is tough, unpredictable and highly dynamic. To survive and thrive in this new normal, you need to claim your position of leadership not only through deed, but by sharing the merits of that deed. You need to nurture and promote your ‘big idea’ through correct platforms and channels. You need to reach out to your target audience and convince them that you are trustworthy.

Research by the Content Marketing Institute shows that nine out of 10 B2B buying decisionmakers look for trust and expertise while evaluating their serviceproviders. However, only 5% of those buyers believe content they currently receive from service providers showcases thought leadership! According to a recent research by ThoughtStarters, 64% marketers find content marketing as their biggest challenge while over 75% want to increase their investments in content marketing. Under such circumstances, how can marketers leverage the power of content marketing to showcase thought leadership?

We at ThoughtStarters have developed a 5F framework which can help organizations position themselves as thought leaders in the minds of their clients. Let us delve in-depth on each of those elements through the ‘5F Framework for thought leadership’:

FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER: The first step of building thought leadership should begin with focus on the target customer. It’s important to understand their industry perspective, trends, content topics they consume, content formats they prefer and channels that consume this content. Added to this complexity is the number of decision-makers involved in the buying process and customized content they demand. Mapping this is important to ensure that you are offering content they would like to consume and not pushing content which you think is important for them.

FACT-BASED: Research forms the core of any thought leadership marketing campaign. Companies should leverage primary and secondary research to gain insights and data on potential trends, which can add as the foundation for the thought leadership marketing campaign.

FRESH PERSPECTIVE: Having a unique perspective from the data gathered through research is the third step in the process. Most organizations tend to follow a ‘me-too’ approach which doesn’t work while one is trying to establish themselves as thought leaders. An expert partner can help companies arrive at a unique positioning for companies which can then be communicated consistently across all marketing channels identified.

FACILITATE KNOWLEDGE-SHARING: A thought leader should always look at sharing the knowledge and insights with a wider pool of stake-holders to ensure that you are able to create a strong network of influencers who can act as your ambassadors during any bidding process.

FIX ATTENTION: The final step is where you create attention capturing content (blogs, articles, point of views, white papers, infographs, videos, etc) which consistently showcases your expertise and grab your clients’ mindshare and in turn help capture market-share.

ROLE OF PARTNER: Most organizations might find it challenging to build the knowledge and skills in-house to deliver a high impact thought leadership marketing campaign. Added to it, they may have limited access to best practices, tools, resources to deliver a strong campaign. Partnering with an expert can help companies address this issue and thereby ensure that they are able to achieve maximum ROI for their marketing investments and efforts.

Feedback: Karthik.nagendra@thought-starters.com Category: Backbeat Volume No: 15 Issue No: 46

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