Deconstructing thought leadership with Craig Badings

RepRev with Craig Badings


This week  I chat with Craig Badings, a thought leader who specialises in thought leadership (yes folks, that’s a lot of thought leadership!).

Craig  is a corporate communications specialist who believes strongly in the strategic competitive advantage that comes with being a thought leader.

We start off riffing on the concept of thought leadership generally; how it’s been fuelled by social media; how companies are using strategic thought leadership to differentiate their brand in the marketplace (and in doing so are creating somewhat of a ‘shield’ around it should an issue or crisis arise).

Then we get into how business professionals – individuals – can build their reputation by thinking and more importantly, acting, like a thought leader.

We look at:

  • why thought leadership needs to be focused on your audience and their issues, not be about you or your company or your products and services;
  • why shifting people’s perceptions around a particular issue, sector or subject is critical (otherwise you are just producing content);
  • the importance of having a point of view (and being able to package it using blogs, social media etc);
  • the difference between an expert and a thought leader, and why the latter is able to frame the debate around a particular issue or topic; and
  • why thought leaders that are provocative often get the most airtime.


Thought leaders are typically brave, says Craig.

“They don’t fear that people are going to reject their point of view. Why? Because they’re trying to move things along, they’re trying to posit opinions that actually do shift the dial.”

According to Craig, genuine thought leaders share commonalities, including:

  1. they’re brave;
  2. they’re great storytellers;
  3. it (thought leadership) becomes part of the culture of who they are and what they are, part of their business objectives and their DNA.

He says thought leadership requires strategic thinking, a focus and a long term view on where you’re going to take it: “People who do that do it well”.

Links re brands, individuals and topics mentioned in this episode:

N.B. About halfway through, the line drops out for a brief second – hang in there, we keep pressing on!

I hope you get something out of this episode of Reputation Revolution. Remember to subscribe on iTunes and not miss an episode! And if you enjoy what you hear, I’d really love it if you could leave a review on iTunes. Thanks!

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