The importance of expertise and thought leadership Marcomms today
Experts and thought leaders can make a powerful difference to a business if their skills are harnessed in the right way. So what difference can this make to your B2B work in PR and marcomms?
Firstly - thought leadership is not expertise, and experts are not necessarily thought leaders. As part of any communication strategy - it’s important to have a good balance between the two.
Thought leaders are visionaries. They’re able to connect with people on an intuitive and emotional level to convey their knowledge, insights and vision. They help their audience understand ‘why’ as well as ‘what’ - looking to how the industry or sector will evolve and develop. Often tackling high-level business and strategic subject matter.
Experts have market-specific knowledge and use this to give insights on specific issues. Their area of expertise makes them specialists. They connect with their audiences on a rational level, using their authority to explain ‘how’. Their contributions help industry make sense of today and what to do in emerging situations.
Both thought leaders and experts can make a big difference to a business, how it conveys its messages, and how those messages connect with audiences. The value of thought leaders and experts is increasingly gaining recognition, and 9 out of 10 decision makers value thought leadership and consistently spend time with it, according to a study by Edelman & LinkedIn. The same study found that almost half of business decision makers said thought leadership directly led them to award business to a company. And having experts convey knowledge on behalf of a company gives key messages gravitas and authority, while creating ‘knowledge cascades’ (Harvard Business Review).
If you can identify thought leaders and experts in your business, how will this help your PR, marketing and communications work?
It’s a powerful way to build trust and influence
By their very nature, thought leaders inspire. They have a vision, along with deep insights into the direction of business strategies and industry evolution. And they can articulate all this in a compelling way.
Experts know the market and how it is performing inside out. They can provide insights into how businesses react to current market conditions.
People are more persuasive than product blurb
Working with thought leaders and experts in your marcomms framework is not directly about selling products or services. It’s about telling a story and creating a convincing context around your products and services. But a by-product of using persuasive individuals in a marcomms strategy is that they will help to sell your company, generate new business and contribute to your expansion strategy.
It helps communicate your company’s calibre and ethos
Individuals who clearly know what they’re talking about – whether they’re a thought leader or an expert – set your company apart from others. This is all about tying incisive knowledge, convincing expertise and a dynamic vision of the world directly to your company. It gives your organisation a higher status and level of standing in your field.
Improves brand reputation overall
Your brand is about how clients, customers and competitors view you. Having authoritative thought leaders and experts working with you helps to build up a positive picture of your brand to all stakeholders. Thought leaders and experts can help you build a brand narrative, it can give you a unique selling point over competitors, and you might even be able to command a premium for your products or services because of it.
Thought leaders will demonstrate the investment the business is making in the future of the industry. Experts will demonstrate the opportunities your product presents to users and the commercial capabilities to take advantage of.
External thought leaders and experts add additional value
You don’t necessarily need to only source thought leaders and experts from within your company. If there is the right synergy, you could also partner with thought leaders and experts externally too. This can strengthen your brand in another way, as you can use the power of an individual’s personal brand in your marcomms.
It’s good for generating original content
Anyone with a stake in marcomms knows that generating original content can be tricky and requires constant creativity. Having thought leaders and experts on board with your marcomms work means you can generate a variety of new content and improve your digital presence, by using everything from guest blog posts to podcast episodes.
You’ll attract new business
Ultimately, the purpose of marcomms is to attract new business, and tapping into the power of thought leaders and experts will help you do this. It provides another way to connect with your audience, reach underserved markets, it and gives a compelling reason for more people to sit up and take notice of you.
You’ll attract better employees
Staff also want to buy into a powerful vision, and they want to work alongside compelling people. Increasing the visibility of your thought leaders and experts makes them more visible to employees too. This means you’ll be more likely to hire and retain a better calibre of staff member, helping your business thrive further.
If you want to create a thought leadership strategy, or think about how you can better use experts in your work, get in touch with us at Haynes Marcoms to see how we can help.