This article has been written by Connor Sharp from Censuswide. Censuswide specialises in robust, high quality market research for communications, marketing and strategic insights teams – offering both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, their quick turnaround surveys deliver accurate results in line with clients’ brand messages and are trusted by media.

Confidence, trust and engagement – each as important as one another in building a successful brand. Coping with the conditions forced upon us by COVID-19 has been a reminder for companies to prioritise their customers and communicate with them in a manner that builds those three aforementioned themes. When companies decide to reallocate resources and budget, shifting focus away from thought leadership, they run the risk of hampering communication with their customers, thereby damaging the confidence and trust in their business.

Now is as good a time as any to produce content as people have far more time and far fewer distractions which, coupled with the fact that we know people are looking for positive and thoughtful messaging, shows this is the ideal time to be engaging customers with interesting and informative content. The benefits of thought leadership are not new, but the coronavirus is certainly reminding us of them.

So why is it so useful? To engage a client with a well-researched and useful piece of thought leadership is to also cultivate an awareness of your brand and what it stands for. To provide your reader/watcher/listener with material that delivers answers to questions and tools for learning is to also gain the respect and confidence of that person.

It’s all very well having a good product or service offering, but you can be sure that your competitors will be doing anything they can to demonstrate to your customers how they might be able to answer those questions more effectively. Dictating the narrative with contemporary and thoughtful ideas will demonstrate to your target audience that your company is a trusted voice that is worth engaging with. Controlling the debate and setting the agenda with new ideas, rather than regurgitating what your contemporaries might have already done, is the first step to establishing yourself as a respected and reliable figure in your space.

How do you ensure that your insights command respect? While a strong brand name is useful, if as a smaller company you presume that you cannot make noise alongside the Magic Circle, you’d be mistaken. Claiming to know what your customers think is one thing, but actually demonstrating this through robust, independent primary research will give your claims greater weight, and an evidential foundation.

I mentioned earlier the need for contemporary material; generating up to date opinions via a well-crafted survey to a robust sample of people will certainly do this. Even if a competitor has run similar research, new statistics will provide you with discussion points that offer fresh insight into the existing narrative. Citing a credible research consultancy will certainly go a long way in giving your statistics, and consequently the broader message, greater validity.

Law firms are faced with a particularly interesting dynamic which is unique to the sector. Much of the work that lawyers do for their clients is highly sensitive – stakes are high both financially and professionally which makes choosing legal representation a vital decision. Ultimately, that decision is made with two things in mind. Firstly, ‘how much is it going to cost me’? Secondly, – ‘am I confident that I am being represented by the best possible institution with the greatest level of expertise’? To not take seriously your thought leadership content may well leave you at a disadvantage given the impact that demonstrable knowledge has on client confidence.

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