5 Ted Talks For Aspiring B2B Thought Leaders

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January 7, 2016
Ericka Lewis Ericka Lewis

One of the beauties of inbound marketing is that it naturally sets the stage for businesses to position themselves as thought leaders in their respective industry. By understanding and identifying with their buyer personas, proactively helping them overcome challenges by sharing valuable content, and by forming a "tribe" through amplified messaging and active engagement, inbound marketing catapults businesses into the influencer pedestal.


Thought leadership is a cultivated skill and requires the ability to hear and be heard, and more importantly, be provide creative and truly innovative solutions and ideas to your audience. To do so requires a deep understanding of the audience you want to target and the things that truly matter to them in your industry. 

More than regularly publishing content or getting your business social exposure, you need to proactively engage with your audience and seek to create a lasting impact by sharing (in Ted Talks' own words) "ideas worth spreading". On that note, here are five inspiring Ted Talks to help you become a thought leader in your industry.

1. Roselinde Torres: What It Takes to be a Great Leader

What would you take away from 25 years of keen observation? There is always another leadership program, but Roselinde Torres, senior partner and managing director at the consulting firm of BCG, walks you through her observations of great leaders in action. Fortune 500 companies may espouse their leadership program and teams but actual individual ability may fall short of promise.

Her real-life insights from advising CEOs and cultivating leadership pipelines as well as marking common trends and mistakes have helped to consolidate the fundamentals that are necessary for success. She compiles 3 simple questions for business leaders to ask of themselves. Torres says, “Great leaders are not head-down. They see around corners, shaping their future, not just reacting to it.”

2. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

You have an idea or do you? Simon Sinek offers his take on inspirational leadership. This leadership expert and author begins with one of our kindergarten shapes, the circle, and takes us on the journey to find out our “Why?” Examples from renowned leaders, organizations and passionate everymans are used to illustrate the main points in this enlightening talk. Sinek’s “Why?” becomes the axis around which all else revolves around.

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3. Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead

There is a rebirth that happened with the advent of the Internet. According to Seth Godin, the Internet has brought down mass marketing and has brought forth a social unit from our collective past- tribes. There is a new collaboration underway and as Godin puts forth, “ …I want to argue that we are living through and are right at the key moment of change in the way ideas are created and spread and implemented.”

Seth Godin, market and author, argues that these shared ideas and values within a tribe allow the ordinary person the ability to lead and make an impact. Groups of people with the same interest are not invented; they simply exist. It is finding and organizing those people around your cause that will lead to your success.

In Godin's words, “ …Most movements, most leadership that we’re doing is about finding a group that’s disconnected but already has a yearning—not persuading people to want something they don’t have yet.” Leaders and marketers know the value of finding this root need, this emotional foothold, and using it to create community and drive. Godin, and possibly those in his audience, itch to create change and to motivate individuals in positions of thought leadership to push boundaries and shake up the status quo.

4. Dan Cobley: What Physics Taught Me about Marketing

This might just be the thing for your inbound marketing team. Have you ever considered the impact of physics on marketing? Dan Cobley, the marketing director of Google, has. Dan Cobley brings together these 2 seemingly disparate fields to demonstrate the connections between sound scientific laws, such as Newton’s second law and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the fundamental branding theories. If you work for a big brand and are looking to reposition your organization, it’s time to see how Newton’s Force might avert disaster.

5. David Carson: Design and Discovery

How you package your message matters. Inbound marketing departments are well aware that how they express their message needs to be uniquely tailored to each target audience. However, at the end of the day you are just a person talking to other people. Reimagine your type in his often humorous old-school slideshow. Enjoy the discovery process with David Carson, a sociologist, surfer and type designer. And remember the importance of people when you create and convey your message.

“…You have to utilize who you are in your work.Nobody else can do that: nobody else can pull from your background, from your parents, your upbringing, your whole life experience. If you allow that to happen, it’s really the only way you can do some unique work, and you’re going to enjoy the work a lot more as well.”

What are you waiting for? Watch these five Ted Talks gems today and get inspired! The best type of leadership (and marketing) after all, is inspired marketing. Happy viewing!

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