Did you know that (in the US at least) you have to be certified to practice professions like law and medicine? It’s true.
And yet, apparently, anybody (and seemingly more and more bodies) can claim to be a management or marketing “thought leader.”
A number of observers have astutely commented on the importance of thought leadership in a B2B marketing context. Jon Miller of Marketo advocates for using thought leadership to:
…deepen your role as a trusted adviser, which in turn builds your brand and improves awareness. The goal is to stay within the buyer’s awareness so that when she is ready to speak with a sales person, your company is an obvious choice.”
But exactly what is thought leadership? And who qualifies to call himself a thought leader? In one marketing article I recently read the author’s bio said that he is a “subject matter expect and thought leader in customer collaboration.” Says who?
That’s the problem. There’s nobody to say so. And that’s why I’m announcing the formation of the Institute of Thought leaders and Consultainment Hotshots (ITCH). To certify true thought leaders throughout the blogosphere.
Here’s how it’s going to work. Copy and paste the “Certified Thought Leader” icon below, and post it on your site linking back to this entry. When we’re notified of the incoming link, the SCABs (Self-Certified Advisory Board members) will review your site’s content to determine if you qualify.
This society (or social network for you Web 2.0 fans) will be a self-governing body, with a rotating advisory board. So while SCABs will come and go, the ITCH will always be there.
Over time, we’ll add new levels to the certification — I envision adding an “Professional Idea Guru” (PIG) level for exalted contributors.
And remember — I’m not just the president of the club, I’m also a member.