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5 Point Plan For Growth Point 1- Thought Leadership

We recently shared our 5 Point Plan for Growth that could be used in these tumultuous times to smooth the waters. Point one we said was Vision and Strategy – Thought Leadership.

Let’s start with defining what we mean by thought leadership.

It was first coined in 1994 by former editor-in-chief of Strategy and Business magazine Joel Kurtzman to describe someone who is “recognized by peers, customers and industry experts as someone who deeply understands the business they are in, the needs of their customers and the broader marketplace in which they operate.”
Kurtzman says they are people with “distinctively original ideas, unique points of view and new insights.”
Let’s look at some benefits –

  • Competitive advantage through differentiation
  • Brand reinforcement
  • Sales and profit boost
  • Improved offering through development and innovation
  • Lastly and somewhat opportunistically… recession-proofing

This forward-thinking mindset leads to improvements and/or innovation that differentiates the offering through increased choice, accelerating competitive advantage. It can also lead to an elevated level of trust between supplier and their customers.

This approach can act as a springboard for many initiatives that help identify new areas for growth and development. Once harnessed, thought leadership can increase sales and profit. By creating new commercial initiatives that reflect the needs and desires of consumers, shoppers and customers are given an enriched choice at the point of sale.

Customers may associate the company’s brand with visionary thinking and leading-edge knowledge. This could increase their willingness to work with you to create a competitive advantage for themselves.

Reflecting the needs of the value chain and delivering innovative ideas and fresh approaches can significantly improve business performance and, in tough economic times, could be what is needed.

Around this time of year, creating the plan for next year is underway. Your team will have reviewed previous activities, and your category drivers have influenced your plan.
Since March 2020, there have been significant changes in consumer, shopper, and customer behaviour, raising the question, are your drivers still relevant?
If there is any doubt and you would like a second opinion on your Category Vision or Strategy, why not get in touch? Many global brands ask us to review their category visions at this time of year, so you’ll be in good company.
Why not let us review or refresh your category vision to reflect the new world?

If you would like to see how you are doing, try our quiz below


How often do you create content to establish your position as a thought leader?

a. Never

b. Rarely

c. Occasionally

d. Frequently

How do you measure the success of your thought leadership efforts?

a. We don’t measure the success of our thought leadership efforts

b. We track basic metrics such as continuous data

c. We track more advanced metrics including ad hoc research, but are sporadic in our frequency of use

d. We have a comprehensive system in place for tracking and analysing the success of our thought leadership efforts

How well do you commercialise your thought leadership platforms?

a. We don’t have a clear understanding of how to gain commercial benefit from our thought leadership

b. We have some understanding, but it’s not very detailed and we are not very good at seeing it through

c. We have a solid understanding, but there are still gaps in our execution

d. We have a clear understanding of how to use our thought leadership for commercial benefit and our business executes it well

How well is your thought leadership content embedded in the organisation?

a. The output is presented to the senior team when it is created and maybe some of our major customers

b. We present the output to all customers as part of our JBP / IBP process

c. We regularly use the output to present to customers

d. We have embedded the output in all of our commercial process eg NPD gate process, IBP process and all of our activities are housed within the context of our thought leadership (where relevant)

How do you keep you thought leadership up-to-date?

a. Creating the output is a one off, we don’t stay up-to-date

b. We keep it up-to-date through basic research and reading industry publications

c. We review our thought leadership once a year to see if it is still relevant

d. We have a comprehensive system in place for staying up-to-date and review and update out thought leadership accordingly


For each question, give yourself 1 point for a, 2 points for b, 3 points for c, and 4 points for d.

Add up your points for each question to get a total score.

Your score can help you identify your biggest thought leadership areas for improvement.

5-8: You have a lot of room for improvement in establishing your thought leadership. You may need to start by creating content and identifying your target audience’s pain points and needs.

9-12: Your thought leadership efforts are decent, but there is still room for improvement. You may need to focus on tracking success metrics more closely and refining your communication strategy.

13-16: Your thought leadership efforts are solid, but there are still areas where you can improve. You may need to focus on staying up-to-date with industry trends and changes and embedding the output more rigorously.

17-20: Your thought leadership efforts are highly effective. Keep up the good work!