Thought leadership – what the c-suite really want

Meridian West, Deloitte and Coast hosted a roundtable breakfast on 21 February 2019 discussing changing trends in thought leadership programmes.

The big theme for discussion was what busy c-suites and executives really want from thought leadership programmes, with Deloitte’s Amir Hussain sharing some insights and headline research from Deloitte.

The role of thought leadership

Thought leadership continues to play an important role for senior management in helping them make better informed decision and to keep up-to-date on emerging threats and issues. But it must provide a fresh and forward thinking perspective. Evidence led and original thinking will stand out in a crowded space.

Bring in the experts

Hussain’s research shows that industry expert voices in thought leadership campaigns are paramount, followed closely by the client experience and, encouragingly, their professional services advisers.

Is the ‘thud factor’ still relevant?

Marketing teams will often agonise over how thought leadership is presented, yet only a quarter of those respondents said that detailed reports and white papers are their preferred option. The research suggests there is a clear trend for shorter articles, closely followed by even shorter blogs of usually around 300 words.

The roundtable panelists all agree that a report presenting the findings from research continues to be important despite it perhaps remaining unread. A combination of many different content delivery platforms is the answer.

The role of social media

The role of online media such as video can also play a useful role, particularly when using tools such as 30 second video blogs on social media (such as Twitter or LinkedIn) to draw individuals into the more detailed insights.

Social media plays an important role communicating thought leadership research, with LinkedIn the preferred choice amongst professionals. Interestingly both Twitter and Facebook scored highly as a source of good thought leadership insights.

The rise of private networks to stay engaged with new communities

Online platforms and apps such as Guild are increasingly attractive for firms wishing to extend the life of a campaign and engage with clients and prospects over a much longer period of time. Hosted and moderated private networks allow greater levels of interaction with members often turning to each other for advice and support. A light touch from the moderator or host will often work best, but they do require a long-term commitment to be successful.

When to launch?

One question that has often vexed marketing professionals is the best day to launch a campaign in order to engage a community around thought leadership. This is often a case of trial an error for most marketers but research suggests a Monday and Friday, mid-afternoon launch can achieve good levels of engagement.

Firm can easily explore themselves the best time to release thought leadership content through split testing – releasing content to different audiences at different times to see what produces the best results.

A campaign cornerstone

The roundtable panellist concluded that thought leadership remains high on the agenda for both large and mid-tier firms and is likely to be a cornerstone for marketing campaigns for many years to come.


We regularly host roundtable breakfasts across a range of topics including thought leadership and client insights, designed to help professional firms implement client focused strategies. Details of upcoming events can be found here.