‘Thought leadership’: buzzphrase or essential pillar in every marketing strategy? Fresh off the launch of new leadership platform nSpiro™, Spiro’s Beki Winchel argues for the latter.
For some, thought leadership is merely a buzzword, but it’s far from only business jargon or a passing fad.
It’s the vehicle of innovation, the guide to answering disruption and the insights agent that can help you strategically embrace change and transform your business – which, in turn, leads to greater returns.
It’s so important that at Spiro we’ve turned it into a thought leadership program called nSpiro, where you can gain a competitive edge through pan-industrial intelligence.
How can thought leadership support and drive business success?
Shifting expectations want value through education
Your sales team is no longer the first interface with prospective clients and customers. Instead, individuals drive the customer experience journey.
According to Gartner, 83% of a B2B purchasing decision happens before your sales team is engaged. Your buyers are researching, ranking options, sizing up offerings for business needs and considering how credible your brand is through the content you serve.
Neither B2B nor B2C customers want to be sold to. They want to be educated, informed, inspired and sometimes entertained. That’s where thought leadership can reach the hearts and minds of current and prospective customers, laying the foundation of brand loyalty without submitting an RFP or delivering a pitch.
That way, when you get to the pitching stage, your brand sentiment is already favorable and you’ve proven that you can provide value.
Along with helping you obtain business, thought leadership initiatives are necessary to keeping it too.
86% of companies’ processes of sourcing B2B strategic partners for transformation efforts are becoming more rigorous, according to an FT Longitude report. They’re also more frequent: 77% re-tender these partnerships every two years, while 40% re-tender annually.
Thought leadership is a crucial element of a regenerating, value-laden customer journey that gives customers the business solutions they need and the insights to boost their efforts and receive greater returns.
Thought leadership can illuminate the path to purpose
As inflation soars, fake news proliferates, disruption continues and effects of climate change are seen around the world, trust is spiraling. For the second year in a row, businesses are the only institutions that consumers trust, according to Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer Report.
B2B and B2C consumers are increasingly concerned with businesses’ efforts surrounding sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and other values that consumers hold.
Edelman reported that 58% of consumers will buy or advocate for brands based on their shared beliefs and values; 60% will choose a place to work based on these values.
FT Longitude reported that 95% of chief executives have a strong preference for companies that can communicate good environmental, social and governance credentials, and 87% say clear ESG performance reporting and communication is a crucial factor in deciding with whom to partner.
We’ve long known that purpose-led initiatives are important, but thought leadership can underline why there is a business imperative to integrate them into your business transformation efforts. It can also lead authentic and effective implementation efforts.
nSpiro does this by examining the driver of shifting consumer behaviors: humans. At the end of the day, all businesses – regardless of industry vertical – interact with humans. These humans have concerns, pain points, interests, desires and an innate need to connect with other humans and ideas.
The community focus of our thought leadership is one reason why nSpiro is groundbreaking. Our insights can help you more powerfully connect with humans and forge lasting relationships that continue to pay back dividends long after your event or experience ends.
With strategic risks come big rewards
It’s not enough to say or profess to think cutting-edge insights: thought leadership insights should be paired with working models and implementation advice.
As associate professor Dr Mignon van Halderen has said: “Now, more than ever, we need professionals who have the analytical, strategic, directorial, creative and connecting abilities to make a new, workable reality visible, and to mobilize people to change and innovate.”
For nSpiro, we take it one step further: we ground the rapid-fire landscape changes and emerging or growing innovations such as the metaverse and web3 with strategic frameworks, models and actionable insights and foresights that can not only help you understand the shifts all around you, but also mobilize you to be part of the change.
You can win big if you take strategic risks. That’s why we focus on equipping you to move with change – but also get ahead of it.
Originally published on The Drum.