Thought Leaders, Authorities and Experts

What is a thought leader?

Thought leaders are informed opinion leaders and the acknowledged experts in their industry or field. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas, who consistently add to the body of knowledge in their field and who regularly communicate their valuable insights to motivate others to solve problems and find new and better ways of doing things. They understand the failings, shortcomings and problems facing their industries or sectors … AND they have the answers to fix  these problems. They also understand that thought leadership is not just about advancing themselves or their organisations but is about the greater good of their industries, their customers, their communities and the greater eco-system in which they operate.

What is the difference between a thought leader and an authority?

Both are recognised as the acknowledged experts in their industry or field. However while authorities are content to simply be recognised for their knowledge and expertise, thought leaders tend to take things further. They’re often the ones challenging industry norms, calling out poor behaviour, raising awareness on issues, advocating on behalf of their industries or communities, forecasting what might happen in future or using their influence to weigh in on key social and political debates.  Thought leaders don’t just participate in the conversation, they drive it? Thought leaders often go on become public icons while authorities are usually only ever recognisable in their industries or best known to their immediate communities and customers.

Is a thought leader or authority an individual or business?

It can be both. However where an organisation is positioning itself as a thought leader or knowledge based entity, the communication should ideally come from an individual. This is likely to be the business owner, CEO, chairman or technical expert.

Who is thought leadership best suited to?

In the main thought leaders tend to be individuals or organisations looking to:

  • Educate and inform their communities
  • Change behaviours
  • Initiate new and better ways of doing things
  • Introduce new concepts or innovative ideas
  • Challenge current thinking
  • Drive best-practice or improve the reputation of their industries
  • Drive a cause or movement.
  • Provide unique perspectives and insights on key industry topics and trends
  • Companies looking to position themselves as knowledge-based entities.
  • Peak bodies looking to drive advocacy and change behaviour.
  • Professionals wanting to secure board or high profile appointments.
  • Late career professionals looking to develop a passion project in retirement.

What do thought leaders and authorities have in common?

They’re well informed and have knowledge, skills and often a lived experience others don’t have.

  • They understand the needs of their industry, customers or community. They know their failings and problems … and more importantly, they know how to fix them.
  • Thought leaders and authorities are also great communicators who provide their audiences with regular access to their opinions, thinking, insights and big ideas. Let’s face it, it is absolutely pointless being a thought leader if you don’t or won’t share your expertise. Thought leaders are there to be of service to their communities and their industries … not impose barriers and impediments to their success. Do this and you will be rewarded handsomely.

What are the benefits of being the acknowledged thought leader or authority in your industry or field?

  • It is excellent for growing business. If you’re out there, constantly dispensing your advice and your expertise, people trust you, your credibility grows, and by default so does that of your organisation. People want to do business with experts who know what they’re talking about. So do investors, policy makers, funding bodies and other key decision-makers. They want to know that the person or organization they’re dealing with or lending money to is good at what they do.
  • Being a recognized thought leader or authority also gives you greater access to the media and conference organisers. The media is always on the look-out for people who can provide expert commentary for stories or are great talent for interviews. Similarly, conference organisers are more likely to invite you to headline a conference or be a speaker if you are a proven expert.
  • Finally being an acknowledged thought leader or authority makes you much more attractive to employers and head-hunters. Companies want to employ well informed people who are problems solvers, have fresh ideas and are innovative and inventive. In the US, CEO and key leadership position are increasingly being filled by candidates who are already acknowledged experts. Bottom line, thought leadership does wonders for your career trajectory!!

What thought leadership services do we offer?

While we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to how we deliver our thought leadership services, we have developed a start-up package which is compulsory to all those using our services for the first time. Thereafter you are free to choose how you would like to move forward. This may involve managing the parts of the process you enjoy and leaving the rest to us.

The start-up package includes:

  • Online gap analysis. This will enable us to determine where the gaps are in how you appear online and determine how best to improve and strengthen your online presence.
  • Thought Leadership Strategy Workshop and Action Plan. This will enable us to clarify your goals, expert niche, key audiences, communications’ platforms, story ideas and then develop a calendar and action plan to help you get started.
  • Personal branding. Clarify your expert focus, tagline, your look and feel and the manner in which you interact online.
  • Engaging on social media. Teach you how to interact as a thought leader online.

Once these key fundamentals are in place, we will teach you how to manage your communications OR we can manage the tricky bits on your behalf while you focus on the things you enjoy. This includes:

  • Creating your content – blogs, social media content, articles, media releases, speeches, video and podcast scripts, e-books, website content, training materials or branded collateral.
  • Publicity. Reaching out to the media. Securing coverage.
  • Speaker opportunities. Exploring conference, event keynotes and other presentation opportunities.
  • Business book coaching. Help you get started and remain on track while writing your book.

What our Clients Say:

“I engaged Wendy when I realised that I needed to communicate my ideas to the broader community. Wendy helped me focus my vision and articulate it in a clear and succinct way but also explained the dynamics of thought leadership and what I was about to embark on. Her associate Trudy Rankin gave me a crash course in social media tools that complemented my action plan. I have since readjusted my thinking about what I do and how I project myself. I would recommend Wendy’s company to anyone wanting to better understand themselves and how they can engage with other thought leaders and communicate their messages to a broader audience.”

Len Sciacca, Enterprise Professor – Defence Technologies, Melbourne School of Engineering

“Understanding your brand value can be a difficult undertaking. Wendy’s personal branding and thought leadership coaching, strategy and action plan allows you to begin navigating this complex area with purpose. The clear structure she provides in enhancing your reputation and capability to present as a leader in my field was of an enormous assistance. Importantly, her approach is grounded in authenticity which makes the process very comfortable and empowering.”

Murray Smith, State Manager (Vic)General Manager AHPRA (Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Authority). Former Director, Vic Building Authority.

It was great to learn from Wendy’s experience and insights into thought leader and how to share my ideas with my professional networks. Wendy took me through a wide range of tools and processes – from the most fundamental to the more advanced. I now putting these ideas into practice and am excited about where this will lead …”

– Matthew J Barnes Technical Co-founder @Drawboard