Summary

Summary 2/5

About the study

Drawing on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s global panel of executives, The Economist Group conducted an online survey in association with Hill+Knowlton Strategies in April 2016 among 1,644 executives globally who either produce or consume thought leadership content. The sub-groups evaluated included important representations across company size, seniority and region.

In addition, we convened an advisory board of industry experts to help shape our thinking. The board included:

Aina Bolstad, Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Microsoft

Rebecca Edwards, Chief Communications Officer, GE Oil & Gas

Nicholas Graham, Global Director Digital Marketing, Huawei Technologies

Rachel Grant, Global Director of Media Relations, McKinsey

Sandra Higgison, AVP Product Marketing, Genpact

Hamish Rickman, VP Marketing, Virgin Atlantic

Severin Roald, SVP Corporate Communications, Telenor

Mark Rose, Brand Communications Manager Europe, BP

John Rudaizky, Partner, Global Brand & External Communications Leader, EY

Andy Weitz, SVP, Global Marketing & Communications, Aon

 

“Marketers” defined as: Those who have responsibility for the planning, development or management of one’s company’s thought leadership content.

Sample representation included:

  • Company size distribution included: 67% with less than $500m in revenue and 33% with $500m or more
  • For seniority, 57% were C-Suite and 43% Non-C-Suite
  • Geographical coverage included: 21% North America, 11% Latin America, 34% Europe, 25% Asia-Pacific and 9% Middle East+Africa.
  • Demographic background mirrored the global business profile on age (15% under 40, 29% 40-49, 31% 50-59, 25% 60+) and gender (85% Male, 13% Female, 2% declining)

“Consumers” defined as (referred to as executives in this summary): Those who consume what they understand to be thought leadership content annually or more often (33% Daily, 34% weekly, 33% monthly or less).
Sample representation included:

  • Company size distribution included: 53% with less than $500m in revenue and 47% with $500m or more
  • For seniority, 41% were C-Suite and 59% Non-C-Suite
  • Geographical coverage included: 23% North America, 9% Latin America, 33% Europe, 26% Asia-Pacific and 9% Middle East+Africa.
  • Demographic background mirrored the global business profile on age (15% under 40, 28% 40-49, 31% 50-59, 26% 60+) and gender (86% Male, 13% Female, 1% declining)

 

All data has been statistically tested at 95% confidence. An asterisk (*) next to a number indicates a statistically significant difference from the corresponding group.

Charts showcase key response options, excluding other, don’t know, none of these, etc.

Survey explainer:

In order to ensure consistent thinking on the survey topic, respondents were asked to read the following explainer before completing the survey.

Definition: Thought leadership is the practice of influencing a community of interest by developing information, analysis and insight that helps its audience understand its world and plan for the future. It can be delivered through any medium, and can help companies raise awareness, shift perception and increase the status of their brand.