Thought Leadership Studio Blog Posts:
Infographic - 5 Prerequisites to Strategic Thought Leadership
You need all of these to succeed with Strategic Thought Leadership: Take the Customer Point of View, Understand High-Level Audience Thinking, Creative Leadership as a Service, Generate Persuasive Talking Points, Well-Orchestrated Execution
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5 Prerequisites to Strategic Thought LeadershipThe five prerequisites to successful strategic thought leadership are:
- Take the Audience's Point of View.
- Understand High Level Audience Thinking.
- Practice Creative Leadership as a Service.
- Generate Persuasive Talking Points.
- Orchestrate Your Campaign at Scale.
1. Take the Audience's Point of View.For many, the starting point of Strategic Thought Leadership is a shift in perspective from how to sell them to how to serve them. This is the outside-in perspective, as contrasted to the more typical, Big Data top down perspective of seeing prospects as data to target. As displayed on this Chart of how to Shift the Focus from Data Targeting to Audience Listening, we are:
As a whole, taking the customers point of view makes it respect-based marketing.
- Responding to the pull of prospects' online research instead of pushing with interruption ads.
- Serving and leading the prospect instead of targeting them.
- Expecting they will grow to new learning rather than expecting them to repeat the patterns that enable predictive targeting.
Potential Shortfall #1: Lose market rapport by making it "all about us" or too self-serving to attract and build an audience.
2. Understand High Level Audience Thinking.Building on the core value of respect for the end customer, Strategic Thought Leadership relies more on Insight than just Information. The Thaut Process 7 Levels of Learning and Influence model helps point the way towards helpful insight into the higher level thinking of your audience. These levels include:
Usually, thought leaders aim to help their followers grow in their knowledge or skills, which is expanding their Skillset. In this case, chunking down the knowledge or skills into bite-size pieces (as I aim to do in the 7 Levels model referenced above) is essential to making each new step feel doable.
- Mental Models (AKA Beliefs)
- Core Purpose
Yet, there are higher and more impactful levels you can either:
These include discovering Higher Values in your audience to align with and strengthen by leading them to new, better Mental Models.
- Align with, or
Put more simply, it means understand what's important to your followers that isn't as fulfilled as it could be with the conventional viewpoint. This can concern things like where your product or service fits in their lives, what skills are important in a professional in your field, what the most important aspects of a service program are, or how to best use a product.
Potential Shortfall #2: Mismatch audience values so you are not resonating with what is important with them. Fail to clearly understand their current perspective on your product, service, field or profession.
3. Practice Creative Leadership as a Service.Strategic Thought Leadership implies creatively designing a new perspective with new talking points in order to help your audience get more of what's important to them.
Hence the CLaaS acronym: Creative Leadership as a Service.
That's a tall order well beyond the scope of this post and infographic. Fortunately, you can search #creativity in blogs and podcast episodes for plenty of resources and ideas for tapping into your creativity in service of developing innovative and helpful thought leadership positions.
And it is a necessity. Thought Leadership implies leading to the new. The new implies creativity.
Potential Shortfall #3: Miss the opportunity for a positive, yet disruptive Thought Leadership Position and get disrupted yourself instead. Or, fail to gather enough attention with the novelty and helpfulness of a truly new way of thinking about your field, profession, or business category.
4. Generate Persuasive Talking Points.Once you have designed a clear Thought Leadership Position, the next step is creating a set of persuasive talking points that:
There are branches of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) that offer multiple language patterns that influence on both a conscious and unconscious level. These patterns expedite the formulation of a Position Paper laying out a clear bridge between old thinking and new thinking. They form an essential part of the Thaut Process of Strategic Thought Leadership.
- Undermines the old point of view.
- Supports the new point of view of your Thought Leadership Position.
The talking points listed in the Position Paper can serve as the basis for a powerful content marketing, advertising, or public relations campaign.
Potential Shortfall #4: Fail to take the need to create a robust Thought Leadership Position, well-supported by persuasive talking points, seriously enough. Fall short of the degree of persuasion needed to truly move minds.
5. Orchestrate Your Campaign at Scale.At this point, the game becomes translating your talking points into media, including any or all of these:
Once you create Strategic Thought Leadership media, then you need to adequately promote it as well.
- Blog posts.
- Website content.
- Podcast episodes, whether your own or as a guest on others'.
- Video content, like a YouTube channel.
- A book.
- Email newsletter.
Obviously, the reach (how many people) and frequency (how much repetition of the message) need to be at an appropriate scale to meet the level of the challenge. It helps to define your influence goal.
How would you define success? Is there a certain size of community, audience, or market niche that buys into your Thought Leadership Position you are aiming for? Are you looking to disrupt a large industry or simply build a small but loyal following?
Potential Shortfall #5: Fall short or the audience reach or frequency of your message needed to gain the level of impact needed. It does take enough scale and persistence.
The Traffic Light ModelSome marketers will simply start at #5 and aim to reach a certain number of people often enough with a non-refined message. But, the impact won't be there without the prior prerequisites met.
Consider them like a sequential series of traffic lights. If a leader hasn't taken the audience's point of view, they are stuck at the "prerequisite #1" red light so can't approach the next light of "prerequisite #2" (understanding high-level audience thinking), let alone the rest.
Only by creating a "green light" condition at all 5 can you get to your destination of mass positive influence through Strategic Thought Leadership.
It isn't about hunkering down and gritting your teeth with high effort. Rather, it is more about orchestrating multiple factors concurrently for fluid success in a state of flow. Then the rewards and exhilaration of leading an audience to a new place are yours.
Enough said, here's your infographic! Feel free to do with it as you wish so long as you do not edit it in any manner.
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