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Thought leadership starts with a big idea, but it centers on action – yours and that of your key audiences. It requires you to solve problems, embody your message in everything you say and do, and communicate your value through multiple channels with clarity, conviction and consistency. Only then can the power and value of thought leadership be fully realized.

84% of consumers agree companies must prove they’re trustworthy before doing business.

But while the Elon Musks and Sheryl Sandbergs of the world are inspirational and wide-reaching, you don’t need to be a multi-million dollar trailblazer to inspire trust and make an impact – or to be an influential thought leader. We interviewed a few of our thought leadership public relations experts for their views on the most important and compelling virtues that differentiate the best in business. Here are the top five:

  1. Adaptability: Whether they focus on innovation, leadership, strategy (or anything in between) thought leaders can apply their expertise to what’s happening in the world today.
  2. Curiosity: By definition, thought leaders are naturally curious and strive to find solutions to problems. They aren’t looking simply to join the conversation – they seek to transform it.
  3. Empathy: It’s not enough to just have an idea. Successful thought leaders can convey their idea to an audience in a way that’s relatable.
  4. Enthusiasm: If you aren’t passionate about your idea, why should anyone else be? Top thought leaders are captivating storytellers who can effectively balance their visionary ideas with practical applications.
  5. Conviction: Thought leaders and their ideas are constantly challenged. In order to rise above the noise, thought leaders need to have the courage to see them through, while being open-minded enough to see that their approach probably isn’t the only one.

While the concept of thought leadership is familiar, its tangible impact on business might not be – especially in a business world where a new buzzword seems to go viral every other week. But true thought leadership secures the most valuable return on investment you can receive from your core audiences: trust.

If you’re looking to build your thought leadership and your business, we’re here to help turn your idea into action. Let’s talk about your ideas and how we can help you be heard by those who matter most.

Five Compelling Qualities of Today’s Top Thought Leaders was last modified: August 2nd, 2023 by Stern Strategy Group