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Leveraging Thought Leadership

Nov 7, 2021

Ten years ago, the term "thought leadership" did not exist. Yet, the principles of thought leadership were being practiced, shaped, and refined by pioneers in the field; people whose great ideas literally shaped the road for all others.

Our guest today is Amelia Folkes, Senior Manager of External Relations at Workiva. Previous to that, she worked at Emerson Automation Solutions and State Farm, where she worked to implement changes that made the world a safer place - through practices and insights that we now recognize as true thought leadership.

Changing an organization's culture can take years of effort. Amelia explains how she did it: by positioning brands as more than just vendors. She taught her companies to become solutions providers and partners to their customers, and level up the organization's voice. In this way, she created earnest relationships, and helped her brands gain the trust and loyalty of their audience.

Relationships are important, but the hardest work of thought leadership is finding a way to take those values to scale. Amelia discusses the use of both broad and narrowcasting, and the ways she works to position Workiva at the front of the ESG (Environmental Social Governance) frontier. Through her work, their clients themselves become integral thought leaders on the topics of sustainability and diversity.

We finish our conversation by discussing the importance of establishing your voice, and creating key messages. Amelia explains that it's important to maintain consistent messages across multiple platforms, from social media to personal relationships. This helps create an echo chamber that, over time, will move into broader and broader audiences.

This episode is an exploration of the way thought leadership has changed over a decade. Listen in, to learn some of the fascinating history, and to discover ways to define your voice, stay on message, and grow your reach for the next decade of thought leadership!

Three Key Takeaways:

  • Thought leadership needs to create trust in the things you are doing or selling.
  • In order for thought leadership to take your client's voice to the next level, you must focus on storytelling and influence.
  • It takes time for thought leadership to become part of the mind of your audience. Repetition and consistency are crucial.