Video: How thought leadership will build your brand and bottom(line)

Thought leadership is a term that is used a lot, but what does it actually mean and how should organisations be using it to build trust, influence, and market share? Clearly PR’s managing director, Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, reveals the answers in this short video.

5 April 2024 | 5 min read | Content Marketing
Clearly Team

In this three-minute video, Clearly’s managing director Paul MacKenzie-Cummins explains the meteoric rise in demand for sound thought leadership content, why so many businesses are investing more of their PR budgets in it, and what RoI those who do it well are seeing.

If video is not for you, the transcript is included just below.


One of the biggest growth areas we are seeing is the surge in demand for thought leadership content. Rather than playing a supporting role within the marketing mix, it has been elevated to centre stage and is fast-becoming integral to media relations and influencer marketing strategies.

Thought leadership is a term that is used a lot, but what does it actually mean and how should organisations be using it to build trust, influence, and market share?

For the second part of that question, we’ll share some insight from a recent survey that we conducted which will help shape your content strategy.

First let’s start with what thought leadership is.

It’s a term coined 30 years ago by the then editor of PwC’s Strategy and Business magazine. He described a thought leader as someone who:

“is recognised 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.”

He added:

“They have distinctively original ideas, unique points of view, and new insights.”

Put another way, thought leadership is about building on your area of expertise and then creating content that provides context, relevance, meaning and value to your audience.

It is about recognising the pain points, challenges, needs and wants of your target audience and generating a response that provides a semblance of a solution or enhanced understanding of whatever ‘it’ is.

OK, so now we’re clear on what thought leadership is, from a practical perspective, ‘how’ can and should organisations be using thought leadership to build trust, industry influence, and market share as we suggested a moment ago?

To answer this, we surveyed almost 300 business leaders and key decision makers for their views. And what they told us could trigger some ideas that you can adapt for your organisation.

We asked them how often they consume – read, watch, or listen to – thought leadership content… things like articles, podcasts, videos etc. A quarter do so every day, a third do so every week, and the rest around once or twice a month.

We then asked them to rank their preferred content formats. Articles in the media came out top, followed by podcasts, videos (such as pieces to camera like the one you are watching right now), blogs, webinars, and then finally LinkedIn.

Creating all this great content is one thing, but does it pay? The answer is yes.

According to our research, after consuming a piece of thought leadership content that resonated with them in some way – perhaps it provided valuable insights into a universal problem – 53% of business leaders have gone on to engage its creator’s company to do business with them.

We also wanted to understand the reasons why thought leadership content creation is so important to organisations. 27% said it was because great content provides them with greater influence in their industry. 26% said it gives them greater brand awareness.

Almost a quarter told us that thought leadership content is critical to improving customer loyalty and trust, whilst 1 in 5 said it played a key role in supporting the organisation’s existing lead generation strategy.

Thought leadership, as a promotional tactic, really gained legs during the pandemic. Business leaders and senior executives found themselves in unfamiliar and often petrifying territory.

There were problems that had never been experienced before, and challenges few had any clue of how to overcome. People turned to industry leaders and experts who could provide some sense of what was happening and those with ideas and insights that would help them to make better informed decisions as to what to do next.

Nothing has changed since 2020, other than we no longer find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. But we remain in uncertain times both economically and politically.

Demand for sound thought leadership content across every sector of the economy continues to rise as the challenges being faced remain as complex as ever.

Articles you may like to read:

Check out Paul’s latest newsletter on LinkedIn – this edition is also focusing on thought leadership. It includes real-world examples of how thought leadership boosted the revenues of one client and for Clearly PR too: Click here.

See how our thought leadership content marketing service can help your organisation. Click here for an overview.