Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass

How Does Thought Leadership Benefit your Business

April 28, 2022 Jon Michail Season 1 Episode 34
Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass
How Does Thought Leadership Benefit your Business
Show Notes Transcript

When you are seen as a thoughtful leader, people look to you for wisdom and ideas. And if you can establish yourself as an "authentic" expert in your industry, potential clients, media and stakeholders will inherently trust you more. Learn in this episode how Thought Leadership can benefit your business. 

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Music: Have a Smoke by Crowander (CC BY 4.0)


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Welcome to Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass. Jon is the founder and CEO of Image Group International and an award-winning image consulting and personal branding pioneer established in 1989. This podcast will bring you old-school wisdom, inspiring ideas, strategies, and hacks for the new tech world. Here you will learn everything about personal branding: the system, the techniques, and the right mindset to have a successful personal brand, image, and reputation.

Hi, everybody, today we are going to talk about thought leadership. And of course, the subject of today's discussion was influenced by my recent article in Forbes magazine, where I spoke about thought leadership and the connection with personal branding. Before we start, let me ask you a question. When you hear the term thought leadership, which personalities do you think of? Historically, obviously, a lot of the thought leaders, you might have considered might include, you know, Confucius, Voltaire, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, et cetera, and why? Well, these people, this historical personality, were not coward to raise their heads above the parapet. And that's part of what thought leadership is. If you want to be known out there, you have to have controversially, as at least one aspect of your arsenal. And especially if you want to be known, well, you'd have to have leadership thoughts that are above and beyond and different from your next-door neighbour. And this is essential. So most people think all controversially that's bad. While it's not bad, it's just that most people are mediocre, and specifically don't have much to say or if they do, they're too shy, you know, to sort of express it with the world. And of course, we know where that leads, you know, lack of expression leads to suppression, and ultimately, depression. So that's the last thing we want to be doing. We encourage, obviously, people to bring out their thoughts and express themselves. And an example is, for instance, of what is thought leadership and what is not, for example, Kim Kardashian, the Kardashian family is a celebrity with over 300 followers 300, a bigger pattern, meaning a million followers, but she's not a thought leader, while the author and entrepreneur, you know, Tim Ferriss is a recognized thought leader, with, you know, only around a million social media followers. So as you can see, a thought leader is not somebody that just, you know, you've looked up to, to buy a product or service, and get advice just for that product or service, you look up to them far beyond that. And it's normally wisdom and ideas. 

And if you can establish yourself, as a thought leader, also known as an authentic expert in your industry, then potential clients and media stakeholders will inherently trust you more. This is the way it works. The key to thought leadership is high quality, original content in all areas of your communication. And that can be a challenge in a world full of content creators and influence. When people are constantly contemplating the wisdom of somebody, you know, who's capable of mustering 23 million followers on social media, for example. But as I noted earlier, this is not thought leadership. This is more around marketing, and what I would specifically say is perception marketing. And what I mean by that is, you know, authentic experts, ones that basically, of course, have, you know, a thought leadership idea, an innovation, a concept, a way of, you know, presenting an idea that maybe is a bit different from anything prior has some originality in it. Okay. And authentic is around, you know, specifically, somebody that, you know, brings out their personal power through this thought leadership as opposed to, you know, positional power that's just been put in there with positional power and sort of claims, a title or thought leadership that really is not what I would call his authentic it's more from the prowess of the power and the powers to be that have put that person in that position and then they are seen as a thought leader that's not, in my opinion, thought leadership, you know, thought leadership is something that also needs to come from an internal perspective, especially if we're going to be authentic about it. And of course, we specifically encourage that to happen. Because if you're not going to be authentic about it, well, you know, what I would regard that is, you know, you're a cardboard cutout. And there's nothing original about that. 

So in case you're wondering, no thought leaders don't follow the self, you know, toting self, your rituals, chasing the approval, okay. And if they did that, it would be for a fun opportunity, as opposed to any serious thought or thought leadership, that doesn't try to convince others that they're capable of doing the unthinkable. Thought Leaders just drive their ideas, you know, comfortable in the knowledge that they don't know at all. And, of course, we all know this, we all know that we don't know what we don't know, as you know, a thought leader, specifically that's been authentic, will also admit that they just don't know, meaning they don't have to be an expert at everything, but they certainly can be an expert in their niche. And that's what thought leadership is all about. They tend to build their intellectual property, through sheer curiosity, it's what I would call is intellectual curiosity, and basically, about the underbite ideas of others, you know, they can expand that into more distinctions, you know, and more finesse in carving up that idea that's beyond basically the simplicity of somebody that's, you know, coming up with an idea, and doing nothing with it, you know, thought leaders can sort of going deeper and deeper, and explain that idea, another level. So let me explain to you how thought leadership can benefit you and your business. 

Well, first of all, thought leadership builds and grows brand credibility. And what that means is brand credibility, from the point of view of personal brand credibility, and, of course, from a business brand credibility. And what you're seeing in a very crowded world is that you basically lead in that space, or certainly one of the leaders in that space. And this is essential because if you truly believe you're a leader, you're going to claim that it's not like somebody's going to come and annoy, anoint you and say, You are the new leader of this knowledge, you've got to be proactive with it, you gotta go out there, and hustle, you got to go out there and create awareness, you know, and if you don't do that yourself, by the way, you might get other people to do that no different to, you know, the super-wealthy, famous celebrities, institutions that would do that with professionals behind the scenes. So this is essential for thought leadership, and thought leadership, of course, you know, it's looking at any profession. And you'll be able to identify thought leaders very, very quickly. I mean, the ones I mentioned to you, at the outset of this introduction were around historical figures. But there is current figures today that you can think of that are regardless of thought leaders. And that's actually, you know, that's a great example, to start looking for examples, you know, that specifically could also influence you and inspire you. And I'm sure some of the people that you really look up to today, might even have some thought leadership capabilities as well. 

The next one, number two is also remembered the thought leadership feeds publicity, you know, so, so basically, there's no ifs or buts here, if you want to specifically get known for the gifts that you have to contribute to the planet, you got to basically get the messages out there. How do you do that through, of course, public relations, media, you know, social media, mainstream media, networks, et cetera? You can't be shy about this. Right? You know, it's, I can't tell you how many clients I've had over the years or genre don't wanna, you know, stick my head out, you know, I don't want to get virtually noticed too much. Look, there's no ifs or buts here, you're either going to be, you know, fully pregnant in this, you can't do this half pregnant. Because if you do, you know, if you're trying to do that, you're sort of trying to play it both ways. And normally, that doesn't end up well, in most cases. Okay? So I suggest you take the bull by the horns, recognize your thought leadership, recognize that you have something to share with the world and go out there and get it done. It's essential if you want to get at least known and of course respected. The next one, of course, is it from a business point of view, it can boost your sales, you know, it can definitely boost your sales from a business point of view because when clients are checking you out, when people are looking for you on Google, like Don't, Google will put you to the top of the search engines when you have thought leadership. You know, when you get on LinkedIn, for instance, thought leadership, I mean, that's why LinkedIn has become so popular, because people are publishing regularly on LinkedIn, for thought leadership that is designed for many businesses to increase sales. And if it's not for sales for an individual, it could be, you know, their credibility in the marketplace and their reputation. So it actually, there's so much evidence to show that that actually is true, and basically support that. So you know, otherwise, Look, the bottom line with all of this is, you know, if you don't believe what I'm saying, and I suggest you don't believe I suggest you go out there and do your own research in everything I share with you is this, these industries will not be worth billions and billions and billions of dollars, if it didn't work, okay. So of course, it works good, I thought leader, all universities are based on thought leadership, every single university, they actually sell that brand or thought leadership, you know, so the, from the, you know, the top universities to the lower-tier universities are all selling existence, I should say, you know, why they there was specifically based on thought leadership. And of course, that has an impact on the corporate brand and the reputation. 

Another thought leadership benefit is that it amplifies your reputation, leading to greater opportunities in the future. So remember, this, people want to be recognized with the winner hang around if I can use that term with winners. Again, that's the way life is okay. And that's also part of social proof. So, of course, it amplifies your reputation leadership to greater opportunities in the future, because the people looked up to you for that wisdom for that advice, you know, for new ideas for courage, you know, because the reason people do look up to other people most times is really that that thought leader might have the courage to express views, that, you know, your next-door neighbour doesn't occur. That's also part of thought leadership, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to say anything silly. That's not what I'm talking about thought leadership is obviously something concise, something that has, you know, a pinpoint aspect or in a niche, and basically is presented in a manner that is respectful. But at the same time, you know, it certainly will amplify your whole reputation if you do that effectively. And again, as I said, Don't be afraid of controversy. Every person that I mentioned to you, the historical figures at the start, were very controversial, and, of course, very controversial. And that's how they got to cut through because their ideas were worth listening to. 

And the last one, for today's session, is that thought leadership can improve your personal satisfaction, and give you a sense of higher self-worth, every human being I've met, wants to basically be recognized, that's it 100% Of all my clients wants to be recognized even at times when they are shy to admit that or they pretend it's not important, et cetera. Every human being in this life wants to express that's why I said earlier, without expression that you're what you're into his suppression will eventually lead to depression, if that happens for a long time. So the expression, get out, letting out your thoughts, your insights, you know, the way you're feeling at times. And I'm not saying you got to do all of this, by the way publicly, you can also do it privately. It's essential for your self-worth. Because if you don't do that, you know, potentially you're playing with thin ice and what do you think therapists and counsellors and psychologists are all about? You go there to express yourself, okay, so then you can reconnect to your self-identity, assuming that's one of the issues. So it basically gets you to feel good about yourself. And when you recognize out there, make no mistakes, you know, make no mistakes, you start to feel better about yourself. And remember, school when we were at school, and the teachers used to give us gold stars, that was also part of being recognized, right? Okay, you know, that gold star continues for the rest of your life. So thought leadership matters, thought leadership really matters. And thought leadership, as I mentioned earlier, you know, if it's gonna be authentic, there has to come to an element of within here, so you can't just fake it and pretend it's all just your thought leader and potentially, it's all just a superficial concept, just in branding. That's not going to cut it. Okay, especially in the world where people can check you out fairly quickly. So you want to do this right. And to sum up, becoming a thought leader in your field requires some time definitely commitment, and definitely ambition. Because if you're not as ambitious enough, obviously why would you want to do that? You know, why would you want to even get out of bed if you're not ambitious, you need the right attitude here, you're not consistent that can take you because remember what we said, it's about stepping out from your competitors if you want to basically be acknowledged if you want to stay as part of the group, the danger of that is you're into buying you into invisibility, you know, that could also lead to mediocrity. Okay, so just to repeat over the right energy consistency, I can take a personal business brand to new heights.

So I just want to remind you, by the way, this particular session is based on my recent Forbes article, so you can always go online and actually, I'm just going to read it out to us in case you're looking out for it. It's called what is thought leadership and how does it benefit your business it was only just published. So folks, if you need help getting there, please contact me and we'll see if we're a good fit to work with each other. Certainly on your personal brand journey. The show is almost over. If you liked this episode, please share it with your friends, family and colleagues. You can also share it on your social media you can follow me on Twitter at Jon_Michail on LinkedIn as Jon Michail and on Facebook as Image Group International. Also, remember to subscribe to the podcast on the platform that you're listening to. So every time we have a new episode, you will be notified. Thanks, everybody, and see you next time. Cheerio.

Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass" Podcast is sponsored by Image Group International, a global team of practical, digitally savvy personal brand and image strategists, based in Australia, committed to maximizing your impact, influence and authority in the business world.   To learn more and apply for your personal coaching, seminars and group workshops please visit or call 1800 631 311.