Finnish consultant Aarni Heiskanen publishes a solid, well-designed and consistently informative blog. His English writing is better than most native English speakers. The theme AEC Business: Business innovation and development provides the context and relevance for managers/owners and marketers, alike.
Consider, for example, the thoughts in this posting: Eight Benefits of Being an AEC Thought Leader,
A thought leader is an individual or company that clients, peers, and other stakeholders recognize as one of the foremost authorities in a selected field of expertise. True thought leaders give back to the business community or society, but also profit significantly from their status. In this article I’ll cover eight benefits of thought leadership from the company’s point of view.
Not every services-buying client sees thought leadership as critical. Based on my experience I would say that around 20 percent of clients favour leading visionary professionals. I got backing on this assertion from the recent Visible Experts℠ study by Hinge Marketing. In the study, around 19 percent of the clients said that they “want to work with the best.” On the other hand, the value of being a thought leader can be huge from an individual company’s point of view in all of its client relationships.
This observation may be an eye-opener: I had thought that thought leadership, if genuine, would be a key factor to more than a fifth of the marketplace. Nevertheless, Heiskanen goes on to outline thought leadership’s advantages (you can see the detailed observations by clicking through to his blog.)
1 – Competitive advantage through differentiation
2 – Brand reinforcement
3 – Sales boost
Thought leadership has an effect on sales. In a survey by DesignIntelligence, more than 65 percent of AEC firms with thought leadership programs made a direct or indirect correlation between the program and new work.
Thought leaders don’t only land more high-quality work than their less prominent competitors. They are also invited to competitions and they receive limited RFPs.
4 – Increased profitability
5 – Improved offering through development and innovation
6 – Personal satisfaction
7 – Recession-proofing
8 – Company value and growth
Eventually, thought leadership can be as valuable to a brand as the products or services it sells. A thought leader is a good investment for owners and investors. Large, listed companies have monitored the effect of thought leadership at a campaign level and have reported double digit growth in brand and stock value as a result. For example, IBM’s Smarter Planet campaign increased brand value by 20 percent and stock price by 64 percent.
Thought leadership at a company level is a strategic choice. It requires consistent and diligent effort. It is not the choice of every company, but once implemented in the right way, it can create superb results.
I think as you read through this blog’s entries, you’ll be impressed by the research underlying the observations, coupled with the really solid and easy-to-read design.
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