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3 Types of Thought Leaders, Explained: Finding the Balance For Your Brand.

Thought leaders are generally defined as industry experts that educate customers and clients, provide answers and solutions to challenges, influence trends, and share brilliant insights that drive growth and innovation.

But did you know that there are different types of thought leaders? According to LinkedIn, thought leaders can be classified as industry, organizational, and product. Knowing these types should push your thought leadership content marketing in the right direction.

Arguably, being just one of the three types may not be enough to accomplish top-tier status. Read on to understand how the types of thought leadership work to create the right mix for your brand.

The Industry Thought Leader.

Industry thought leaders focus on giving their unique and valuable perspectives on the latest news and trends in the market they serve. Their approach tends to lean toward authoritative yet authentic content.

How can you stand out in your niche, especially against competitors using the same strategy? Don’t just echo the opinions of others. To build authority, you need to create original, fascinating, and quotable content that offers a unique take on the topic.

Dig deeper into the events shaping your industry and find an interesting point you can discuss in your point of view. Develop content that encourages innovation, and always keep your audience in mind: Are the thoughts you are about to share for prospects, customers, or analysts?

The Organizational Thought Leader.

Organizational thought leaders concentrate on sharing the brand’s vision, innovation, company culture, and overall story with their audience. In other words, it is about showing your viewers what makes your organization worth emulating.

To inject organizational thought leadership into your content, you will need to highlight how the standards and practices in your organization are leading the way and setting trends in your industry.

Case in point: in March 2020, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian sent a memo to all employees, announcing that he would take a pay cut to “reduce losses and preserve cash.” Many businesses followed suit. In fact, one in four top executives in the UK had taken a salary cut amid the pandemic.

Ask yourself: what are you doing differently? What emerging technologies are you spearheading? How do you implement a growth mindset within your company? Once you have solid answers to these questions, you can use them to craft a share-worthy organizational thought leadership story.

The Product Thought Leader.

Once you have established the best ways to grow and innovate within your organization and across the industry, it is time to provide the means to do it. Enter product thought leadership, where the focus is on giving clients, partners, and customers the best possible solutions using the product or service your brand offers.

To optimize your content for effective product thought leadership, add some how-to guides, tutorials, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page, and even strategic roadmaps. Anything that can help your audience solve problems (especially recurring ones) and experience seamless convenience should be used for leverage.


There is no single pathway to becoming a successful thought leader. Be authentic, and strive to strike a balance in using the three types of thought leadership so that your content can grow your influence, build trust, and become the go-to authority in the industry.

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