Thought Leadership Strategy for Brands and Retail

Leading brands need market leadership as well as opinion leadership

On first glance, brands and retailers seem to be facing more and more difficult times. Customers pay less and less attention to the numerous innovations, relaunches, and product line extensions. The individual profiles of brands or retailers are experienced as interchangeable, both on- and offline. The increasing torrent of advertisements, special offers, and options overwhelms customers.

Although this development appears to be negative for you, it offers many possibilities as a look at the customer behavior shows. It shows us what customers do when they become overwhelmed:

  • Customers start to omit most of the adverts or product options they see. They only remember one provider per trade – the Thought Leader.
  • Customers regard brands that offer more than just new products, they react to brands, which satisfy their human needs.
  • Customers want to be active and involved and the brand needs to enable and encourage them to do so.

Thought Leadership Marketing is the art of designing one's own business model, offering and communication in such a way that people unconsciously and consciously understand what high human needs a brand wants to satisfy - for the benefit of customers and the general public.

Do you want to be one of many or the only one?

The right marketing campaign can help you transcend beyond your product. By reaching this goal the campaign will not only show which benefits result from using your product but also what role it plays in society. A prime example is how Dove, a brand that promotes body care products (thus relies on its customer’s insecurity), has become the embodiment of natural beauty., the world’s leading Internet-based retailer, allows its customers freely to publish their uncensored product reviews. They have developed a sales platform that allows other suppliers to lowball them as much as they like, as well as offering mail order services for products they do not offer themselves. This high amount of supremacy creates trust – worldwide. Amazon has used this trust to signify the highest product competence, the best service, the fastest delivery, price leadership, authority, and inspiration. They have enabled their customers to feel they can expect Amazon to always be the pioneer, the Thought Leader, in their field.

Patagonia, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing, produces their cloth as a matter of principle only from recycled materials. They run groundbreaking social projects and has created a codex his employees and suppliers have to follow. By that, they have set themselves noticeably apart from any other similar brand. With their forward-thinking values, many customers see no alternative that fits their own standards – they have become a Thought Leader.

Thought Leader Brands use viral marketing, customer reviews, and word-of-mouth prominently and create their own, on- and offline, Brand Community platform.

Thought Leader Brands are Superior

An online retailer lets his customers post self-confident reviews of all products without censorship. He creates a sales platform where other sellers can undercut him to their heart's content, he sets up mail order shops for sellers of products that he himself does not offer. This sovereignty creates trust - worldwide. And besides, he stands for the greatest competence in goods, the best service, fastest delivery, price leadership, authority, and inspiration at the same time. He gives customers the feeling of a trusted thought leader in (almost) every dimension of his business. This is also a success factor for the world's largest online retailer, Amazon.

As a matter of principle, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing makes its products only from recycled materials. It runs pioneering social-environmental projects and creates a corresponding code of conduct for its employees and suppliers. This distinguishes him perceptibly from many other equivalent brands. And with his future-oriented values, there is no alternative for many customers - he is their thought leader for outdoor clothing. Business models based on thought leadership are game-changers in their market. such brands are unbeatable in the long term because they build up a permanent and sustainable unique position in the market.

We firmly believe that Thought Leadership is applicable in every field. It can make the difference between being one of many of the ones many follow. We cannot wait to start the journey with you. Please talk to us to find out what we can do for you.