The role of thought leadership in key account management

Key account management is more important than ever. The areas of highest growth in professional services are in multidisciplinary services—work that cuts across the traditional service lines most firms are organised around. Clients think that the range of capabilities a firm brings to bear plays a key role in its ability to deliver a better, more innovative solution. As a result, the quality of a firm’s account management, together with its breadth of capabilities and ability to innovate, are now three of the most important factors clients consider when deciding which firm to hire.

The table of contents: RIP?

It’s easy to see why creators of thought leadership might not be fans of tables of contents: They invest thousands of hours creating hundreds of perfect pages, only to see their work summarised in 10 simplistic headings that give the reader a licence to jump straight to number seven. Or, simply, to decide that there’s nothing worth reading at all. Tsk.

The PDF report isn’t dead—but it shouldn’t be the only option

When we run training sessions for creators of thought leadership, one query invariably arises: Have longer reports had their time and should we be focusing on snackable content?

Our answer is firstly that these options aren’t, and shouldn’t be, mutually exclusive, and secondly that both are important.

Setting expectations for those who don’t go with the flow

There are times when I’m more than happy to go with the flow—I’ll cheerfully stop for a chat when I bump into a friend, am happy to lose track of time when I’m engrossed in a good book, and enjoy exploring new places without a detailed itinerary. However, when it comes to my professional life, I’m rather more demanding: I want to see objectives and agendas, to know why I’m being asked to read a 30-page document, and to understand your expectations for that project you’ve just handed to me.

Four lessons from 20 years of analysing thought leadership

Source has been analysing the quality of thought leadership for 20 years and White Space subscribers can access our reports from the past six years. As we pulled together our report for 2018 H2, we reread our comments from earlier years and reflected on why firms have moved up, and down, our table. Here are four messages that stand out for us:

Three thought leadership predictions for 2019

Keen to stay ahead of the curve, or at least to know what curve they’re falling behind, our clients often want to know what the latest trends are in thought leadership. And they’re usually relieved to hear that, from our vantage point–looking across all the content created by all the firms we follow, the pace of change appears surprisingly slow.

Seeing yourself as others see you

It’s amazing how we pay such little attention to things that haven’t changed. That’s fine if those things are doing what they need to do, but it’s less fine if they could really do with being fixed. Those of you who, like me, have moved home recently will probably be well aware of this phenomenon. I’d stopped noticing the dead branches in the back garden and the door that needed a coat of paint—until I decided to sell my home and suddenly woke up to the impact they’d have on my ability to sell the house.

Meeting the needs of those who come looking

Are your clients getting what they need from your website?

But everyone else is doing that…

My eleven-year-old, in his desire to influence his parents, has been known to utter the phrase “But everyone else is going…” I credit my firm interrogation techniques for him not using this argument any longer: they force him to admit that “everyone else” is actually three people and to accept that other people going doesn’t mean he should, too.

Should you be curating as well as creating?

Should you be curating as well as creating? That’s a question we’ve been asking many consulting firms recently when we’ve been talking to them about thought leadership. In our view, if you want to be the go-to destination for the finance director (for example), then you need to do more than just push your own content: you need to understand the concept, and the value, of curating content for specific target audiences. That doesn’t mean pushing your own view on topics into the background, but it absolutely does mean bringing together content from other relevant sources.