Thursday 23 March 2017, London

Thought Leadership

This session on Thought Leadership had three speakers across different professions.

  • Andrew Rogerson, Grist
  • Elliot Grady, BDO
  • Sophie Bowkett, Bird & Bird

Andy Rogerson, Grist

What do leaders want from their thought leadership?

Andy from Grist spoke first on the firm’s own research about how CEOs viewed thought leadership.  

One of the most intriguing stats he had secured from their research – 210 interviews with top C-suite directors ­– was why they read thought leadership, this helps those of us producing it to use as a starting point for why to produce the research in the first place.  

The top answers to this were to stay informed of future trends and to enable them to make informed decisions. They are looking for expert insight.

What qualities do you expect from thought leadership?

Fresh thinking, forward thinking, evidence led.

The thought leadership that was least appealing was those which were too generic, had a lack of genuine insight and those who promote the advisor over the ideas.

They want to hear from their clients clients.

The most popular types are unsurprisingly short articles, blog posts and in person briefings – a great tip for follow up.  

A key point was that many of those who look into the topic in more detail after they have read the thought leadership. This is a strong recommendation to those putting out the research to offer further information on the topic, perhaps linked to your website. Those business leaders that have their interest peaked by your research will go to your competitors for more information if you do not provide them with it easily. 

Eliott Grady, BDO

Next up was Eliott Grady from BDO to talk about their thought leadership project to differentiate themselves in the market. Their goal was to find their unique points in a crowded market and create a campaign around it to raise their profile.

They used an integrated campaign to discuss their research into developing Britain’s ‘new economy’, looking at the ways in which the government will tackle the challenges of Brexit. A new economy which harnesses the entrepreneurial spirit of high-growth and ambitious mid-sized businesses.

With their research they were able to secure national, broadcast and specialist trade coverage on the theme of mid-sized firms and their role in building the economy. This was shared through multiple channels, with client input and refreshed with updates to the research and reactions to related external events.

Sophie Bowcott, Bird & Bird

Sophie Bowcott from Bird & Bird discussed the firm’s campaign to be ‘a GC for the day’.

The aim was to distinguish themselves and gain a foothold in the Australian market post-merger. Recruitment was a key driver for the campaign and with their vision in mind, to be the number one law firm in the world for organisations being changed by Technology or the Digital World, they came up with the idea of a competition for students.

They launched with the question: What do you envisage is the greatest opportunity for General Counsels in the future? Students were asked to entire via a short video, encouraging creativity and providing the opportunity for interaction on the firm’s website and social media channels.

They also promoted the competition through traditional media and advertising and had some great outputs including 251 pieces of press coverage. The team have also visited law firm fairs in Australia and received feedback about the buzz the campaign created.

Some top tips from Sophie if you are considering a similar campaign:

  • You need senior buy-in
  • Keep to a timetable
  • Constantly monitor social media & be ready to engage
  • Bring different stakeholders into the fold
  • Collect all collateral to share further

Natalie Cush, Account Manager Byfield Consultancy