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Thinking about thought leadership...

 "White Papers: The Thought Leadership Workhorse," Bradley W. Bloch, CPA Insider, March 14, 2011

"Industry surveys: No Longer Just for the Big Boys,"  by Bradley W. Bloch, CPA Insider, January 10, 2011

"Creating an Annual Thought-Leadership Plan," by Bradley W. Bloch, CPA Insider, October 12, 2010

"Using Thought Leadership to Achieve 'Trusted Advisor' Status," by Bradley W. Bloch, CPA Insider, August 23, 2010.

"Harnessing the A-ha Moment: Six Steps to Thought Leadership," by Bradley W. Bloch and the Artemis Strategy Group.

Diagnostic questions

Ask these questions to evaluate the performance of your thought leadership campaign:

  1. How well is your thought leadership strategy aligned with your business goals?
  2. Are your thought leadership efforts allowing you to own issues that matter to your clients, or are you merely presenting your capabilities and expertise?
  3. Are your thought leadership efforts leveraged across multiple communications channels (media outreach, business development events, speaking opportunities, etc.)?
  4. In the industry surveys you conduct, are the statistical findings used to create a compelling narrative, or do you merely “talk over the numbers”?

Solving the paradox of thought leadership

To succeed in the marketplace today, many organizations need to be not just  purveyors of a product or service, but thought leaders—a source of knowledge and insight to their clients and agenda-setters in the public arena. Establishing oneself as a thought leader means continually demonstrating that knowledge and insight through white papers, surveys, presentations, capabilities brochures, case studies and bylined articles that stand the scrutiny of informed readers.

But there’s a paradox: Genuine thought leadership requires the sort of deep, big-picture thinking that the pace and demands of business rarely allow. Indeed, there are many ways in which the typical business environment is ill-suited to the full transformation of raw ideas and experience into well-articulated, eye-opening insights. This is why even sophisticated enterprises so often find the thought leadership process a challenge.

For nearly two decades, Athlon has brought to knowledge-intensive organizations,  particularly in professional services, technology and healthcare, a systematic approach to accelerating the thought leadership process and to optimizing  marketing, communications and positioning. The result increases an organization’s intellectual capital, clarifies its thinking and vision, and clearly communicates the value it adds to clients in a unique, authoritative voice that reaches C-suite decision makers and other elite audiences. Athlon has successfully raised the profile of technology firms looking to be acquired, helped relaunch public pharmaceutical firms taken private, managed a broad portfolio of thought leadership initiatives for global professional services firms, and provided a range of counsel and support to CEOs and senior management of small and midsized organizations in a range of sectors.