Matt Kucharski has an interesting post on his blog The Lead about companies becoming a thought leader. He offers five things to consider all beginning with the letter M. As an editor, I receive plenty of press releases and calls from PR people proposing a CEO as a thought leader. There are many. I think it’s hard to be a thought leader. First, you have to think. OK, I’ll give you a second to digest that. I suggest that you can’t just look at your product portfolio, bundle a bunch together, devise a theme that mirrors a hot trend, then push your take on the trend as thought leadership.
Thought leaders actually start the trend, or propel a nascent one. If you’re a company, it may entail having developed new products or services that fit the trend. The thought leader part is convincing people there is a problem and there will likely be solutions. I’m not so sure that thought leadership means marketing existing products.
Do you decide to become a thought leader? Or, do you have a great idea derived from great insight into something that you talk about everywhere before anyone else does? Chicken or egg? I go with the latter idea. What do you think? Or, does it matter?