How Thought Leadership Increases Brand Value

08 June, 2023

In today’s digital landscape, the buzz around thought leadership is undeniable. Webinars, podcasts, and postings on platforms like LinkedIn have prompted a bit of FOMO amongst those who aren’t already implementing the strategy. But why are people so intent on becoming thought leaders in their respective niches? Is it pride? Positioning? Sense of purpose? If you ask a strategist, you’ll likely hear it’s about business visibility.

Here’s why:

On average, only 3% of employees share content about their company. However, those shares are responsible for driving a 30% increase in the total engagement a company sees.

Further, according to LinkedIn

On average, a company’s associates’ networks are at least 10x larger than a company’s follower base. And, when your colleagues share a post, it is seen as 3x more authentic, which helps the message cut through the clutter of advertising people see every day. People are more likely to engage with content when it comes from someone they know than from a company. When employees share content they typically see a click-through rate that is 2x higher than when their company shares the same content.

A Refine Labs data study confirmed the same positioning, noting that sharing information through a personal LinkedIn profile drives 2.75 times more impressions and 5 times more engagement when compared to the individual’s company profile. 

All of this makes sense, of course. We want to converse, share ideas, and seek insight with and from real people. We want validation from people we see as equals and high achievers more than we want it from a company’s marketing department (which is why testimonials are so powerful, right?). So when it comes to LinkedIn, business profiles are imperative – yes – but personal interactions are essential to growth. And your company’s leaders – and associates – have a real opportunity to become part of a valuable conversation.

Why Thought Leadership is Valuable

Thought Leadership Builds Influence and Community:

Those who become truly influential thought leaders share innovative thinking and deep-rooted insights, yes. But they also share personal stories, statements, and opinions – often opening up about their own struggles, challenges, and achievements in and outside of work. Their public life-storytelling opens the door for compassion, understanding, and trust. This is the real reason they build true relationships and a trusting, invested audience. 

With an audience that is not only interested in the individual’s content, but invested in their successes, a share of company content is seen as a celebration, or insight, or tip of the trade. It’s seen as something the individual is proud of, rather than a marketing tool the company created. And owned content engagement rates increase.

Thought Leadership Leaves Lasting Impact

Studies show that decision-makers dedicate significant time to reading thought leadership content each week, with many acknowledging its ability to foster trust. Their specialization and knowledge allow them to act as brand ambassadors, providing valuable insights to clients that inspire confidence in products and services. They add conversation to data points and real-life examples to study results. They bring the black and white to life, and keep it breathing with every new follower they gain and engage with.

Thought Leadership Expands Reach

Like we said above, a company’s associates’ networks are at least 10 times larger than a company’s follower base. When engagement happens, their network (and supplied content) reach expands – over and over. And believe it or not, for every six pieces of content shared by a LinkedIn member, three people view your LinkedIn Company Page, and one new person follows your page. This number grows as your thought leadership strategy includes more individuals, and their posting subject matter includes self-generated content over owned content. For example: posts on new products, services, awards, etc.

Ok, so you get it now. What’s next?

Cultivating Thought Leaders

Becoming a thought leader is a gradual process that requires credibility, reputation, and unique expertise. It begins with studying existing thought leaders and identifying their key qualities and unique selling points. What are thought leaders you follow doing well? What is engaging? What could be improved? Are there holes to fill? Or new roles/personalities to target? 

Methods to Increase Visibility

You can increase your visibility by becoming active and inclusive in the conversation and bringing authentic insight from your own experiences. From personal thoughts to data-based insights, thought leadership strategy includes the following posting methods: 

  • Find your niche. And then talk about it, with purpose, passion, and insight. 
  • Be authentic. People can spot a fake from a mile away. Be yourself and let your personality shine through in your content. You don’t have to share your most personal stories, but we do recommend sharing your personal experiences – on and/or off the track. When your audience can relate, your audience will support.
  • Be helpful. People are more likely to listen to you if they feel like you’re helping them. Offer valuable advice, share tips, and provide solutions to problems.
  • Be consistent. The key to success is consistency. Keep creating great content, being active on LinkedIn, and building relationships. Reaching out to gain new connections is part of this too. 
  • Be kind. 
  • Question your industry. We don’t mean throw it under the bus; moreso question standards of practice with the goal of improving. Question traditional methods with hopes of innovation. Ask your audience what they are doing within their fields to address X, Y, and Z. 
  • Share your brand in your own words. Talk about why you love your company, what its products/services mean to you, and what your favorite part of your role is. Bring your company to life through active conversations. 

Lastly, continuous learning and a proactive approach to knowledge acquisition are essential for developing thought leaders who can navigate market challenges and adapt to evolving circumstances.

The Takeaway

In a market economy, businesses must understand their identity and goals to achieve strategic growth. Incorporating thought leadership as a growth strategy can have a profound impact, introducing an ever-expanding audience to your operation’s offerings. It’s a means of reinventing the wheel to keep your business relevant in conversation and action.

It’s important to remember that thought leadership is a journey that requires dedication, continuous learning, and a commitment to authenticity. By embracing thought leadership, businesses can unlock new opportunities, establish credibility, and build lasting relationships with clients and customers.