"Thought leaders have thoughts."

That's the line that PR strategist Marc Hausman likes to use on his clients to get them focused on what's at stake. As he explains in his own blog:

[M]ost executives shy away from taking a stand on issues or topics that
could be controversial. And that limits the effectiveness of their
company’s external communications program.

If company leaders won't take a stand and defend it, they are limited in terms of what they can accomplish on the public relations and marketing communication fronts. Hausman explains that his company's methodology is to "produce and/or package content once and then merchandise it across
multiple channels. This approach positively impacts awareness,
credibility and lead generation." Benioff_thought leadership

But he can't do his job without compelling content. He points to Marc Benioff as "the premier thought
leader in the adoption of innovative technology by enterprises."

Salesforce.com’s “Say No to Software” launch campaign for its
software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM product ultimately redefined how many
companies procure applications.

Competitors
like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft initially protested Benioff’s views and
then were ultimately forced to play catch-up. More important,
Salesforce.com ignited a movement that spurred innovation across
multiple segments of the market.

Hausman notes that Benioff is now back in action with a
new thought leadership campaign that "defines what comes after SaaS
. His
premise: view companies like Salesforce.com as offering a 'platform as
a service' that allows entrepreneurs to write, test and deploy software
without cost-prohibitive infrastructure investments."

Benioff, it's safe to say, has thoughts — and he's not afraid to express them. He demonstrated how a small, unrecognized player could take on titans like SAP and Oracle and redefine a market. Thought leadership was one of his primary weapons. 

So are you ready to be a thought leader or help turn your company into one? If so, I'd love to hear your story.