It feels like every building product business wants to be a thought leader at the moment. It may even be something you’ve included in your marketing strategy – “become THE Thought Leader in our space.”.
I often ask, “so what’s your big idea then?”, to be told about how the brand has existed for 50 years, is a market leader, has supplied prestigious projects, etc.
But this isn’t enough. It’s not your past that makes you a thought leader, it’s your vison of the future.
So, what do you need to do to become a thought leader, and is that really what you want your brand to become?
Proceed with caution….
What Is Thought Leadership?
A Thought Leader is a company or individual that is not only regarded as an expert on a particular subject or issue, but is also offering visionary, disruptive thinking to overcoming current day challenges and has a unique point of view.
Thought leadership is risky, as many visions never materialise due to the complex and often random nature of our world.
Simply knowing your stuff and being able to offer best practice advice isn’t enough, this is what I call a Subject Matter Expert, or even a Trusted Advisor.
Thought Leadership or Trusted Advisor?
Thought leaders are often high profile and radical, think Steve Jobs and Apple, Elon Musk and Tesla/SpaceX – offering completely different ideas to challenge traditional thinking, often disrupting the status quo in their industry.
Thought leaders lead the way to new ways of working, designing, living, communicating and socialising. They shape the future of their industries, often disrupting the old guard, who either adapt or die.
Trusted Advisors are the experts that someone turns to when faced with a difficult challenge. Someone whose expertise and years of experience will equip them with the insight to overcome problems less experienced people may struggle with.
With either title, they cannot be self-appointed monikers, it’s the opinion of your market that counts.
What Should Your Brand Be?
Unless you have a radical, game changing idea and you’re not risk averse, then for most brands (corporate or personal), Trusted Advisor status is a far better option.
In the current climate in the construction industry, eliminating risk is a serious business.
Designers, specifiers and contractors have reputations to protect.
Many will feel more secure calling upon a Trusted Advisor to help them than possibly a radical Thought Leader to help them with their projects.
This doesn’t mean that Thought Leadership should be avoided. On the contrary, Construction is so entrenched in outdated methods and practices, it is an industry crying out for radical thinking.
If you have a game changing idea that can make the industry safer, greener, more sustainable, more efficient, or even just more exciting, then seize the opportunity.
Just don’t recycle and rehash old ideas and try to cast your brand in a thought leadership position. You risk your concepts being seen as plagiarised, causing long term damage to the credibility of your brand’s reputation.
Getting Your Opinion Heard
Regardless of how you want to position your brand, one of the most effective ways of developing your brand identify is a highly effective content marketing strategy.
Using your blog, webinars, podcast, CPD presentations, white papers and social media, you can get your ideas across to your target audience, open your concepts up to peer review, defend your ideas against conflicting views and shape the minds of those in the industry.
The opportunity to promote your world view has never been greater, but you need to be smart as with over 4.4 million blog posts and 500 million tweets published every day, competition for share of mind is fierce.
It’s important to carefully consider if you want your brand to be the one that your market relies upon (Trusted Advisor) or potentially worries about (Thought Leader). It’s human nature to be conservative, but without progressive ideas, we wouldn’t advance a s a society.
Getting either position right can be highly profitable for your business.
Equally, finding the right support to get either of these brand positions established is vital.
If you want to position your brand as either a Thought Leader or a Trust Advisor, then we’d be excited to discuss the options with you.
At Insynth we deliver a predictable flow of leads, customers, and specifications for building product brands through our inbound marketing approach, proven to reach a technically demanding audience.
We use the latest marketing techniques such as construction inbound marketing, to equip building product companies to grow sustainability in this era of digital transformation.
As the only HubSpot certified agency to major in construction marketing. We have a proven formula of bringing a variety of functionalities together including CRM Implementation, Web Design,Sales Automation, SEO, and Email Marketing to achieve your ultimate aim: Growing your business and gaining new specifiers and customers.