Thought Leadership

How thought leadership can help brands ride the recession

A new joint study from Edelman and LinkedIn underlines that during a downturn decision makers are hungry for fresh insight.

Andrew Mildren, Edelman

Executive Director


As people return to work after the holiday season, the tone from business leaders is cautious.  Adjusting after several years impacted by the pandemic, ongoing geopolitical issues and economic uncertainty, companies are re-evaluating their priorities and looking carefully at purchasing decisions.  

A new joint study between Edelman and LinkedIn, surveying 3,500 business decision makers, reveals that 64% have already tightened their procurement processes. Meanwhile, 44% expect to be personally less receptive to sales calls and marketing outreach as economic conditions tighten.

Sales cycles will be extended, and marketing will need to work harder to nurture conversations and cut through.  The study shows that quality thought leadership can be one of the most effective tools for marketing professionals in this climate.  Our research found that 69% of decision makers agree that thought leadership is one of the best ways to get a sense of the type and calibre of an organisation’s thinking, with 61% willing to pay a premium to organisations that can demonstrate both depth of thought and similar values.  

Put people first: the old adage that ‘people buy people’ remains true today and is even more important during uncertain times.

Andrew Mildren, Executive Director, Edelman Business Marketing

As budgets are cut, 55% of executives say that products and services deemed ‘nice-to-have’ rather than ‘must-have’ will be where any necessary spending reductions come from. And because thought leadership is deemed the most effective tool for demonstrating a provider’s potential value, it offers a unique opportunity to persuade customers of a product or service’s necessity – more so than traditional advertising or product marketing.

Guest Author

Andrew Mildren, Edelman

Executive Director, Edelman Business Marketing


Andrew is an experienced marketing and communications leader, delivering high impact campaigns which build brands, change perceptions and drive demand. This has included developing creative, integrated programmes which have boosted engagement and performance, tripled conversion and increased sales and margin. His experience includes audience insights and market research, web, digital and social, thought leadership, executive communications, CRM and account-based marketing, as well as partner and sales enablement, crisis management, employee engagement and earned media. Andrew has worked across a range of industries including technology, energy, engineering and professional services for some of the world's most recognisable business brands as well as for emerging, fast-growth companies.

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