Craig Badings

Dutch School of Thought, October 1, no comments

Partner at SenateSHJ in Sidney, Australia.

By definition thought leaders are brave, explore areas others don’t, raise questions others won’t and provide insights others can’t. Thought leadership is a powerful business strategy that requires careful planning and alignment with the business or practice objectives of the organisation.

Successful thought leadership campaigns first and foremost require a clear outline of what you want to achieve, a deep understanding of the audiences’ key challenges and how and where they consume content. Finally it requires senior management support and the right resources or it will fail.
The best thought leadership is backed by empirical evidence but more importantly it frames, stimulates or reframes a debate, perspective, methodology or way of thinking. Almost without fail it should offer something new. The trick though is not to look too far into the future because:

  • a) your audience wants solutions to their problems now
  • b) the vast majority of the audience will not be visionaries or innovators
  • c) the human brain is wired to reject facts that contradict beliefs and in the process strengthen its existing viewpoints (confirmation bias).


If it is too futuristic, your thought leadership will result in your audience possibly dismissing your point of view out of hand.
Instead, good thought leadership finds the audiences’ common ground, agrees or validates certain values and only then moves into arguing a new point of view, preferably with a strong emphasis on emotional storytelling.

Craig Badings is a partner at SenateSHJ. He has spent years researching, writing and consulting about thought leadership, what it is, what it isn’t and has developed a methodology for arriving at a strategic thought leadership point of view and taking it to market. He is the author of “Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership” and #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.

Join him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn or follow his blog at


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