Neo@Ogilvy on Thought Leadership

Guillaume de la Flechere discusses Neo@Ogilvy's successful thought leadership strategy.

January 29, 2015

As Managing Director of Neo@OgilvyGuillaume de la Flechere is responsible for delivering accountable digital marketing solutions and ensuring that marketing strategies are rooted in a data-driven approach. So how does thought leadership, notoriously difficult to pin a value on, fit into Neo@Ogilvy’s thinking? We sat down with Guillaume to talk through the purpose and practicalities of thought lFFeadership content:

1) How important is thought leadership to brands?

A thought leadership content strategy enables brands to differentiate their vision or proposition from the competition. Ad campaigns allow them to present ideas and solutions to a particular audience at a particular point in time; a thought leadership content strategy enables them to demonstrate what they stand for on a long-term basis. Through a content strategy they can build up a strong line of evidence, create communities, empower advocates and create positive dialogue.

The approach has to be dynamic, feeding off consumer insight to develop content that can win over demanding audiences without losing sight of the brand or business proposition. The key is a precise understanding of what a brand’s audiences are interested in – essential for increasing engagement, sharing and visibility.

2) How should they set about creating thought leadership content for the first time?

Launching thought leadership content isn’t easy; it requires time, investment in the content itself and considerable outreach, as content strategies are closely linked to social media. Nevertheless it is an essential exercise for brands seeking to demonstrate their leadership. Here are the tips we encourage brands to follow:

  • First, choose a key idea that can act as the vehicle for the message you want to get across.
  • Consider beforehand the major themes that you’ll need to tackle, and create an editorial strategy and a plan for what you’ll publish.
  • Keep in mind the strategy for distribution of this content. There is nothing worse than producing high-quality content that no one will see. Distribution must be modelled on paid, owned and earned media to create the best possible ecosystem for circulating your content.
  • Consider one or more media partnerships to add greater reach and visibility to your content.
  • Adapt your content for the different touchpoints. For example an article running into several pages is totally unsuitable for social media. Opt for “snackable” content which can lead audiences towards longer pieces.
  • Set clear objectives and KPIs and make sure you have a measurement system in place.
  • Work with in-house ambassadors (your experts) on creating, animating and broadening dialogue to demonstrate your expertise.
  • Secure the assistance of a partner specialising in these brand content tools.

3) Can you think of a brand that is nailing thought leadership?

Four years ago, we devised a participatory platform with IBM France and called les clés de demain or “keys to the future” . Every month this brings together dozens of business leaders, academics and senior members of the public sector to share their ideas. The resulting conversation generates IBM’s “Smarter Planet” content strand. I also like the work of HSBC UK, which has placed LinkedIn at the heart of its global business content strategy.

4) What marketing tactics can brands use to implement thought leadership campaigns?

  • Strongly targeted campaigns to promote the most relevant content to the most relevant audiences.
  • A digital platform to aggregate and distribute content.
  • A social network to bring together target audiences and foster an on-going dialogue.
  • Segmenting the conversation through groups – and holding a relevant dialogue with different audiences.
  • Focusing on effective content formats such as LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates.
  • Managing content campaigns internationally.

You can find Guillaume’s interview, and insights from a range of other marketing thinkers in LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership.