What Is Thought Leadership?

Thought leaders are people worth listening to because they have expertise in their fields and can provide valuable knowledge about certain topics. But are all thought leaders created equal?

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022! This is a special year for &Barr as it marks our 65th sapphire anniversary! Stay tuned to learn more about our sapphire anniversary in the coming months as we celebrate this achievement throughout the year. To start things off, keep reading to learn about how important thought leadership is to your business.

A Central Florida Legacy

The Orlando Business Journal recently published a list of Central Florida’s top advertising agency for 2021. The fact that &Barr made the list, and, more significantly, who else was on the list, was humbling. &Barr has a long history with a substantial number of the agencies on that list. In other words, if you look at the websites of the companies on that list, you’ll notice that a number of employees have listed their &Barr experience in their resume. That’s really cool.

Let’s come back to the point of this blog post. It’s not just about &Barr and our 65-year history; it’s also about establishing a tone for the remainder of 2022.

The coming year will most likely see continuing challenges from the global pandemic. The world is moving from Web 2.0 to 3.0 at an exponential rate, which is concerning because business is already in constant change. We now have to deal with the unpredictability of disruptive technology that is being developed on a regular basis.

If it’s confusing for you, think about your customers.

As a result, today’s C-suites are looking for quality thought leadership to assist them through these uncertain times.

What is Thought Leadership?

If we’re going to talk about what thought leadership is and why it’s important to your business, then we need to define it first.

Thought leaders are people worth listening to because they have expertise in their fields and can provide valuable knowledge about certain topics. Thought leadership is generally offered through quality content which should be meaningful, insightful, and offer some kind of new information or perspective that can’t be found elsewhere on the internet.

But is all thought leadership of the same quality? A recent study of Decision Makers says: No. We agree and suggest that there are three different “layers” of thought leadership that you most likely experience on a regular basis. These are:

Layer One Communication

This is jargon-heavy communication that rarely adds anything substantive to the conversation. When one examines most blog postings in their business these days, this appears to be the norm. Content is either incomprehensible because it is so focused on long-tail SEO, or it lacks the research and knowledge to leave the reader somewhat more informed than before.

Layer Two Communication

This style of communication delivers crucial information on a subject, as well as actionable possibilities, results, and an understanding of risk. It takes time to study, ideate, think about, and finally write content of this caliber. Unfortunately, this type of stuff is difficult to come by on a regular basis.

Layer Three Communication

This layer contains the preceding layer, but the thought leader now provides particular results based on personal experience, has used skunkworks to test a new technology, or has conducted substantial research on a subject.

Example of Layered Thought Leadership

Let’s look at an example of each of the levels to help strengthen our case. We’ll need you to play along.

Assume you recently ran across a familiar employee of a local agency at a nearby coffee shop. Your manager wants to deploy chatbots at work, so you inquire if they’re familiar with them. They look you in the eyes and give one of three possible examples:

Layer One answer:

“Chatbots are a terrific method to converse with clients without having to hire additional staff to address enquiries.”

Layer Two answer:

“Chatbots are beneficial to companies of all sizes. They’re essentially a communication tool that uses metadata to improve the customer experience by sending the appropriate messaging to the appropriate users at the appropriate time. I’m somewhat familiar with Intercom – an engagement platform – which we use at the Office.” Explain more.

Layer Three answer:

“Chatbots are fantastic for increasing customer engagement, especially when it comes to providing a tailored experience for your customers. Did you know that &BARR worked with Rosen Hotels to create a successful chatbot that outperformed expectations? Let me tell you about a case study that we completed.” Explain more.

Do you see the difference?

Who would you trust with your brand?

2022 Expectations and Beyond

You have our word that in the future, we will make every effort to provide you with Layer Three thought leadership in our blog postings. It’s fine if we don’t always succeed; at the absolute least, we should hit Layer Two. =)

There are no questions that are off-limits as well. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning these cutting-edge technologies that are growing at the speed of light and being deployed without regard for unintended consequences. As professionals, we guarantee to be honest and do our best to guide you through the new digital world that is coming at us.

Everyone is welcome to join in the fun. The majority of people fail to create a safe environment in which they can have a candid, impartial discussion about business. As a result, we expect everyone to treat one another with dignity and respect.

And if you have any new ideas, new technology, or something on the horizon that you need help understanding, let us know and we’ll cover it on this blog if it’s relevant to other businesses.

In the future, I’m going to ask you to hold us accountable. If we stop creating high-quality content, let us know. Our goal is to make this platform a resource for everyone, regardless of industry. We imagine it as a coral reef that will continue to extend, grow, and evolve over time. Participation, obviously, is beneficial.

If you have any questions or would want to discuss anything mentioned above, please contact Mark at [email protected]

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