Redstone Consulting has published its newsletter and with it an interesting insight into the value of thought-leadership.
Thought-leadership has moved away from a PR and brand-position tool to a central business development function. That cannot be a bad thing. The PR value will be increased enormously if there is a solid business development aim under-pinning it.
And that is perhaps the problem with most thought-leadership. Much of it isn't thought-leadership at all, but just good a good PR story.
That in itself is not a bad thing, but it can devalue true through-leadership, particularly when it comes to measuring its effectiveness.
I would suggest that true thought-leadership has to address a fundamental concern of, in the case of professional services firms, clients.
It must be under-pinned by solid research and a full programme of activity, with PR just one small part.
In short, it should create long-lasting conversations. If it doesn't it is perhaps thought-leadership, but just another (good) PR story.
Recent research undertaken by Redstone shows that our clients’ spend on Thought Leadership has been growing – and budgets now being agreed for the coming year show no indication that the trend will diminish. What accounts for this drive? Perhaps the move of Thought Leadership from essentially a media tool to centre stage of the business development agenda provides some explanation. This doesn’t mean that these programmes are no longer seen as important in the realm of brand and positioning – instead it means the ambitions for them have grown. Programmes are expected to deliver to multiple objectives.