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Often implemented through executive communications strategies, thought leadership is a way for companies and leaders to share their expertise and insights on a particular topic, primarily to establish themselves as experts in their field and boost their credibility. Research conducted by Edelman and LinkedIn revealed that 88% of executives view thought leadership as a potent tool for enhancing a company’s reputation, with 48% acknowledging its potential to positively sway purchasing decisions. But because decision makers today are bombarded with content, it is important to create thought leadership strategy that is original, insightful, and relevant to your target audience.

What Is a Thought Leadership Strategy?

A thought leadership strategy involves transitioning a brand’s communication from product-centric discussions to actively addressing industry and customer challenges, making the brand a trusted advisor to a wider audience. Individuals place their trust in thought leaders, heed their insights, and seek their guidance. This is why, when a brand becomes a thought leader, its relationship with its clients and/or audience shifts from being a mere provider of a commodity into a consultative relationship. Price then becomes less important.

Thought leadership is not about how cool or popular the brand is, but about offering insights to its audience’s most profound questions. It’s about tapping into the brand’s community, employees, and industry. And often, being a thought leader means being a better curator of thoughts than its peers.

How Can I Create a Thought Leadership Strategy for My Organization?

You should not regard thought leadership merely as another marketing tactic or a pretext to generate content and disseminate campaigns. Instead, it should be harmonized with the strategic components of your business and closely tied to your business objectives. Here’s a guide on how to create a thought leadership strategy:


A sustainable thought leadership strategy should be aligned with your company’s mission, business goals, and measurable KPIs. To use content effectively to support a thought leadership strategy, you need to understand how thought leadership drives innovation, how to capture attention and share your ideas with others, and how to move from idea to adoption.

One of the biggest challenges for marketers is defining and articulating a solid business case for a thought leadership, as well as setting measurable goals. It is important to ensure that your thought leadership strategy supports a larger digital marketing transformation that shifts marketing from a product-focused function to a buyer journey-focused set of programs. This will assist you in aligning your strategy with the buying behavior of customers.

Habit forming

Society can be seen as a collection of four types of people: innovators, early adopters, the early majority, and the late majority or laggards.

  • Innovators are the first to adopt new ideas. They are willing to take risks and try new things, even if they may not work out. They are the ones who drive innovation and move industries in new directions. 
  • Early adopters are similar to innovators but are more cautious. They want to make sure that the ideas they adopt are sound before they share them with others. They are also more likely to influence others, as they are seen as thought leaders within their industries. 
  • The early majority is the largest group of people. They are more hesitant to adopt new ideas, and they need to see proof that the ideas work before they adopt them. They are also less likely to influence others. 
  • Lastly, the late majority or laggards are the least likely to adopt new ideas. They are very traditional and are uninterested in change. They are also the least likely to influence others.

To establish yourself or your organization as a thought leader, your emphasis should be on engaging with early adopters and innovators — those individuals who perpetually seek fresh concepts and are open to undertaking risks. You need to share your insights and ideas with them, and you need to help them to see the value in your ideas. If you can do this, you will be well on your way to becoming a thought leader in your industry.


When formulating a thought leadership strategy, understanding how ideas transform to cater to the requirements of a more discerning and less risk-averse customer base is essential. This means understanding the latest trends and innovations in your industry, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing your customers.

As a thought leader, you also need to be ahead of the curve. You need to be able to spot emerging trends and understand how they will impact your customers. You also need to be able to articulate a vision of the future that is both exciting and achievable.

One approach to identifying the biggest challenges and opportunities that your customers are facing is to put yourself in their position and think about what guidance they would seek.

Once you have identified these challenges and opportunities, you can start developing a thought leadership strategy. This strategy should, above all, focus on providing your customers with the information and insights they need to succeed.

Thought leadership is not just about providing information, but also about building relationships with your customers. Partner with Stern Strategy Group to develop a blueprint that will take your business to greater heights. We’ll help you become a trusted advisor who can help customers solve problems and achieve their goals.

How to Craft a Thought Leadership Strategy was last modified: August 30th, 2023 by Brian Sherry