You Can’t ‘Claim’ Thought Leadership – You Earn It


Technology executives want to be seen as thought leaders. Why wouldn’t they? Thought leadership greatly boosts the credibility of these individuals and their companies. The credibility directly ties to strengthened reputation and customer/public trust. Who doesn’t want that?

Unfortunately, you can’t just wake up in the morning and declare yourself a thought leader. It’s not a self-appointed title! As the old Smith Barney commercial told us, you have to earn it. You have to develop ideas which distinguish you from the crowd as a voice of direction, change and/or reason.

Many confuse the term thought leader with subject matter expert (SME). While sharing certain characteristics, it’s not the same. Unlike an SME who gets quoted from time to time on tech topics, thought leadership requires relationship building. You’re not looking to place an occasional quote here – you’re seeking to emerge as the ‘go-to’ authority for a reporter or (within a blog, for example) community of interest. Through relationship building, you plant seeds of innovation/perspective, and nurture them into fully realized opportunities for concept presentation.

How else do you earn it? By being willing to take stands and share your passion. Thought leadership has a voice, whether depicted in text, audio or video. Favor the persona and platforms that are “right” for you. Some execs simply don’t have a knack for writing. Others are camera shy. No problem. You can still find your niche and use it to gain a strong rapport among customers, business peers and policy influencers through the media, trade press and even general public. Here at LaunchTech, we help clients navigate these waters with our creative content amplification and credibility campaigns.

Thought leadership comes to those who have something credible to say and take the risk of saying it. It’s a gift that is natural to many, while learned by others. It takes time, persistence and patience to acquire it. Once you have, you must constantly foster it to keep it. And that’s all part of earning it. If you’re interested in discussing how we can help you get there, then please contact us.

Author : Matt Hampton