Thought Leadership Content
What is Thought Leadership and How Can It Make A Difference
in The Business World?
When people first hear the term "thought leadership" they may confuse it with leadership training.  Do you remember hearing the term "multi-media" for the first time?  Well just like multi-media, Thought Leadership is emerging as an important term that will increasingly define how businesses operate.  So just what is thought leadership and how can it make a difference in the business world?" 

Wikipedia defines a thought leader as ‘a buzzword or article of jargon used to describe a futurist or person who is recognized among peers and mentors for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights.’  Another way to define Thought Leadership is "the recognition from the outside world that the company deeply understands its business, the needs of its customers and the broader marketplace in which it operates.”  Elise Bauer. 

At The Thought Net, we see thought leadership as the new paradigm for how businesses market themselves and build brand to communicate their value to the world and their customers.  Thought leadership evolves through the efforts of individuals and businesses making a commitment to develop a deeper understanding of the specific forces shaping their industry.  Businesses can play a larger role in the process of creating change in their industry through public discussion of innovative and actionable ideas. These types of contributions and public forums can directly affect a company’s success and brand.
Many large companies are now taking on thought leadership branding initiatives as a part of their own intellectual branding campaigns.   What difference can it make to become a thought leader in the business world?  The main difference lies in exactly how your company is viewed by the market.  Many companies have started to realize that thought leadership is a core component of becoming a successful market leader.  Is your company’s brand currently seen as one of the more knowledgeable and innovative in its field or industry?  Is your company known for sharing knowledge with its clients and the public?  Has your company developed programs that speak to the corporate social responsibility needs of your branding initiatives?  And, is your company helping to improve and create positive and sustainable change in your industry?

To become a recognized thought leader in business requires a competent course of strategy, guidelines and the ability to answer yes to many of the preceding questions.  Companies such as Cisco, Cisco Global Education and HP have several divisions with resources and programs dedicated to ongoing thought leadership research, marketing and events; many of which tie into their corporate citizenship and thought leadership branding initiatives.


Once thought leadership is established, the rest of the industry, the media, academia, government policymakers and the broader business community turn to that company for ideas and for insights into where things are going.” Mark Peshoff, Senior Director of Cisco’s Executive Thought Leadership.


People represent how a product and company are perceived by their customers and the market at large. A company's credibility, market reach, standards of conduct and recognition are affected by the value and brand of their people. Thought leadership is the new marketing platform for people and the companies they represent.

According to a 2009 research report by Go-To-Market Strategies' Sales and Marketing Industry Study, thought leadership trails just behind email as the area of most significant focus for B2B marketers in 2009.
In addition, the Economist Intelligence Unit released a global survey of senior executives entitled, Engaging Global Executives: Ten Megatrends in B2B Marketing.
A key finding from the survey: Thought leadership becomes top priority. "Traditional approaches to B2B marketing are losing their impact. 56% of our survey sample ranked 'positioning their company as a thought leader' as their top priority, second only to 'building new business.' Today, B2B marketers are turning towards thought leadership as a way to differentiate their products and services in an increasingly competitive market."
Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008  

If you want to be seen as a thought leader in your market, it’s important to come up with a thought leadership strategy that will enable your company to develop and deliver expertise over the long run to help your clients and the marketplace improve.  This can produce rewards for your business that can be exponential to both your company and clients along with the marketplace as a whole.  That is why Thought Leadership holds the hope of inspiring something great.

By Natalie L. Wood, The Thought Net, LLC

DOWNLOAD REPORTS: (click on report names to download PDF files)
Economist Intelligence Unit Engaging Global Executives: Ten Megatrends in B2B Marketing, 2008
Go-To-Market Strategies Go-To-Market Strategies' Sales and Marketing Industry Study, 2009


For more information on ways to increase your company's brand awareness and become a market leader through thought leadership marketing and events, please contact us at or call our number below.  Thank you.

Contact information:
The Thought Net, LLC
San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415-425-7124