Building Trust through Thought Leadership

Introducing New Research from Edelman and LinkedIn

November 14, 2019

Thought Leadership is More Effective than Marketers Think

Editor's Note: Learn more about the "2020 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study" by registering for the live webinar "Building Trust Through Thought Leadership," which takes places Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at 2pm ET/11am PT. 

As companies work to build and maintain trust with customers, it has become apparent that authentic thought leadership is a major driver of trust for customers in B2B Marketing. For the past three years, LinkedIn and Edelman have collaborated on research that helps companies understand the impact Thought Leadership has in B2B Marketing. This year, our research found that Thought Leadership is as valuable as ever in driving brand and demand for B2B businesses, and, beyond that, it can also help to establish a trust factor with customers.

We’ve been tracking what we call the Brand Perception Index the past three years which this year, again, shows that 88% Decision Makers agree thought leadership is effective at enhancing their perceptions of an organization. For the research, we defined Decision Makers as people involved in vetting, recommending, and/or making final decisions on their company’s choice of professional service providers or products. This index is a blended mix of the importance Thought Leadership has on respect, perception, and trust for Decision Makers. Digging in on trust, 86% of the Decision Makers we surveyed said quality thought leadership can drive trust in an organization for them. This figure has continually risen from 82% two years ago to 85% last year and is a focal point for marketing organizations.

Building trust in customers is not an easy feat. It takes time, effort, and results. Thought Leadership that is relevant and timely can help enhance efforts that other parts of an organization are doing to build trust in their customer base. While Product teams focus on building things that drive value to their customers and Sales team focus on showcasing that customer value, Marketing can use Thought Leadership to enhance perceptions of an organization.

The survey found the three key areas that help marketers enhance perceptions are:

  • Delivering real value.
  • Being engaging.
  • Being easy to find.

For delivering real value, 90% of Decision Makers in our survey said the best Thought Leadership they read touches on timely topics.  For engagement, 72% of Decision Makers say being short and easy to absorb makes Thought Leadership very compelling. Finally, in terms of ease in finding Thought Leadership, there are three key places that Decision Makers find content:

  • 47% is found through Discovery from things like the LinkedIn feeds, search, etc.
  • 32% is Pushed via forwards from colleagues, conferences, or opted in sources.  
  • 18% is Amplified via paid and earned channels.

While building trust is always important for every organization, it is imperative that the organization has an authentic culture of thought leadership which takes time and consistency to build. It’s important that the producers of thought leadership build this culture by having a willingness to invest in thought leadership to drive deep thinking and intellectual rigor. Finally, there needs to be full participation from executives and across the organization.

Learn more by registering for an upcoming webinar where we’ll share additional findings from the report or dig deeper into the data by downloading it here.

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