In the ever-competing marketplace, business owners have to try and get ahead every which way they can.
The problem is that traditional advertising, and even newer solutions, are not enough anymore.
Consumers are getting smarter and demanding more than a flashy image or the promise of lower rates.
The problem is that not many small and medium-sized enterprise owners know what their clients what, and end up spending their limited funds in all the wrong places.
One new trend that has been discussed in business circles throughout the last few years is thought leadership.
What is it, and how can you implement it?
Thought leadership is a term that describes a company that is excelling in its industry because it is seen as a leader in that space.
What makes them attain leadership status?
It’s not advertising dollars or discounted offerings (although that can help, as well).
Instead, it is the ideas and opinions put out by the company that creates a leader label.
A great example of thought leadership in the tech space is Steve Jobs.
This forward thinker and innovator propelled Apple into superstar status, making it one of the most successful brands in the world.
How did he achieve this?
By always being on the cutting edge, coming out with new ideas and products that revolutionised the marketspace.
Although Jobs was incredibly successful in his role, most business owners and managers do not seek out to change their industries; instead, they simply want to make a profit and grow their companies.
How can regular businesses become thought leaders?
Knowing Their Customers
The first step in becoming a trusted source of information for your clients is to research your audience.
What makes up your clientele – how old are they, what gender, where do they reside, do they have children, what are their hobbies, passions and what drives them?
What positions do they hold – blue collar or white collar?
Once you collect demographic information, as well as shopping and spending habits of your clients, you will have a wealth of data that can help you identify your primary audience.
Then, you can craft the messaging on how best to talk to them.
Knowing Your Space
It’s not enough to sell a service or product, it is imperative that every single employee that has any interaction should be an expert in your field.
They need to not only know every detail about your offerings, but study up on the industry, what need they are solving with your product and what sets your organisation apart from the competition.
Share Your Knowledge
The way to start being seen as a thought leader is to share your knowledge with others.
Write blogs and articles related to your products and overall space, participate in industry events, comment on social media, and designate a person to respond to customer queries in a detailed and educated manner.
The more your audience will see that you know what you are talking about, and are driven to help them, the more they will trust you and remain loyal to your brand.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 10 March, 2017
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