Thought leadership is one of those entrepreneurial spirits that make good men and women into great ones by refusing to settle for mundane solutions and embracing fearless creativity. It’s not easy, but those with the drive have the chance to do nothing less than change their world. Our questions to you are: Why not your company? Why not now?
Steve Jobs was easily one of humanity’s greatest thought leaders and saying so is not just respectful homage to his life now that he’s passed on, it was his life. Being a thought leader can certainly lead to such success as he knew, just as thought leadership built cultural empires like the one led by Stephen Colbert and changed the very landscape of the world as the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty did when linking the distant defensive lines of China’s states to begin the Great Wall.
In truth, all great things are created in the mind before they are ever acted upon and there is an art to them all. In our industry, digital marketing, we channel our creativity into storytelling. Gilgamesh can certainly attest to the fact that stories touch people, retain their attention, incite them to action. James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” can tell you the same. Nike. Facebook. Need we go on?
And it’s what we’re telling you now: thought leadership has and will continue to change the face of digital marketing.
In the digital realm, the key to true thought leadership is try things other people are not already doing. Following the standard rules or gaming the system only works for so long until someone changes the rules (and someone will change the rules!) either to genuinely alter the foundation of a venture (like Apple changed digital technology) or something smaller scale but still vastly important.
A common and perfect example of the later would be the web search algorithms used by major engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. The algorithms used to be easy to deceive, but the rules change and keep black-hat SEO practitioners on their toes, learning what the new systems of weights and balances are to exploit them. Creating quality content is always the key to long-term success, but the strategies of climbing the search results depend entirely upon the rules set by search engine algorithms.
So, in your own sector, find a way to change the rules. Pursue creative ideas fearlessly. Alter the landscape. And do it for good.
Rise above the expected. Therein lies a deeper level of success and it’s not impossible at all. It may be hard to do; it may be frightening to take what feels like a gamble instead of playing by familiar rules, but if you’re ever one to speak about return on investment…thought leadership always reaps the most stunning returns.