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How to get thought leadership right

Challenge the usual

Thought leadership is a powerful finance content marketing strategy. By leading your industry with new ideas, you can demonstrate credibility, build trust, increase your following and maybe even make the headlines.

However, for your finance brand to be regarded as a true thought leader, you need to deliver genuinely interesting thinking. It’s easy enough to add the title ‘thought leadership’ to a blog, but if your content doesn’t live up to the promise, then you risk disappointing readers. 

True thought leadership is creative in its approach, isn’t afraid to take a position, involves thorough research and draws on the minds of experts.

Here, we take a look at finance brands around the world that are getting thought leadership right. 

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Thought leadership that takes an unusual angle on a usual topic

As the proverb goes, ‘There is nothing new under the sun’. Thought leaders needn’t invent new topics, but they should come up with new angles on old topics. After all, readers pursue thought leadership out of a thirst to have their thinking challenged and their mind widened—not to read what they already know.

Thought leaders needn’t invent new topics, but they should come up with new angles on old topics.

One finance brand that consistently takes an original perspective is Schroders, a UK-based asset management company. Its dedicated ‘thought leadership’ finance content hub is comprised of extensive reports that bring together a wealth of research from which new insights are drawn, including this 10-page report on how the corporate world must change to become more sustainable, this 11-page examination of how Europe can build a stronger investor culture and this 7-page investigation into why active beats passive in emerging market equities.

Thought leadership that takes a position on controversial issues

Effective thought leadership takes a position—even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable to do so. This position should be brave, clear and in keeping with your brand’s values (as well as the actions that back those values). 

For inspiration, explore the Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) thought leadership blog, where experts delve into a variety of tricky issues, but always take a stance. For example, this article investigates the explosion of facial recognition, acknowledging its usefulness but also warning Canadian businesses of its dangers, particularly its potential to disrupt customers’ trust. 

Meanwhile, this article and accompanying podcast cover the inherent biases of artificial intelligence, including the racism of algorithms.

Thoroughly researched and led by experts

Even the most interesting ideas in the world aren’t much use without the backing of research—especially in the finance sector, where results are vital.

To be persuasive, thought leadership should include thorough, extensive research—whether you conduct original research yourself or collate the research of others in order to glean new insights. 

For example, last year, the National Australia Bank joined with the CSIRO as well as 20 other Australian organisations to create the Australian National Outlook 2019 Report. This mammoth piece of work draws on exhaustive research across industry, urban development, energy, land and culture, to posit two scenarios for Australia’s economy in 2060. And the Commonwealth Bank has created several theme-based, insights pages, where readers can find in-depth studies; for example, the Retail insights page offers detailed reports into resilience in the retail industry, the impact of online marketplaces on shoppers’ behaviour and consumers’ changing expectations of delivery services. 

Lead and stand out

As well as challenging the established-norm with interesting, research-backed insights, thought leadership can still get lost in the mix if it isn’t positioned and distributed in the right way. At The Dubs we produce thought leadership content for all manner of finance brands, taking a particularly unique and editorially-led approach with Aberdeen Standard Investments’ ‘Thinking Aloud’ thought leadership content program. Published daily and distributed globally, Thinking Aloud pairs insightful, thought-provoking content with arresting imagery to capture the attention of a savvy investor audience.

Learn more about how The Dubs can help your finance brand become a true thought leader in your industry. 

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Jasmine Crittenden
Jasmine Crittenden has written extensively for major finance brands including Westpac, BT Financial Group, Suncorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments – across both digital and print. She’s an expert in content that puts the human element in finance marketing, be it connecting with local communities, inspiring millennials to care about super or clarifying the complexities of personal loans.