At our agency, we talk quite often about developing “thought leadership” to promote our clients. We use the term to refer to that which differentiates one company from another. We focus on brand story — and the many ways to share that story. But it’s not the best term. It’s vague and imprecise. And I hate being imprecise.
I love words and language and the way that a thought, put down on paper, captured digitally or spoken aloud can move people, organizations, nations. I’m a huge fan of the intricate use of language by artists like e.e. cummings, William Carlos Williams and Aaron Sorkin. I’ve posted about the way a speech can move a nation. And I wept when I visited the National Archives. What can I tell you.
Language matters. Story matters. Point of view matters.
I believe that thought leadership is the way that you can make your brand voice stand out, make it different, unique and separate from “similar others.” That’s important. Think about your company. Do you have competitors. Don’t lie, we’re all friends here, you have competitors. Are they selling the same thing you are? Maybe. But are they telling the same story you are? I hope not. The difference in your brand story and the way you tell your brand story is your thought leadership.
OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s return to the original problem: Thought Leadership is not the best term to describe all of this.
So, what is the right term?
- Brand Journalism?
- Brand POV?
- Brand Insight?
- Brand Authority?
- Brand Perspective?
And the answer is… I’m not sure. At CSG, we use the term Brandtelling to refer to the action of developing and telling compelling brand stories. Brandtelling is a verb and an active noun — it’s a gerund, but nobody ever knows what that means. But I’m still unsure what the aggregate activity of differentiating and distilling your innovation and ideas should be called.
What do you think?