2020 has changed things—but how much will stick?


The COVID pandemic has shaken up the thought leadership landscape in a variety of ways, which become all the more apparent when seen through the lens of our latest report, which ranks the thought leadership output of the leading consulting firms over the last 12 months.

When it comes to those rankings, there are relatively few changes at the top of the table—those firms that produce consistently good content have continued to do so—but there has been much more movement among the lower-ranking firms. Part of the story here is about volume: Firms that have not appeared in the rankings for a while, due to an insufficient volume of reports to provide a good basis for review, have made a return (in total, five firms have rejoined the fold).  Other firms—as a result of the pandemic-related pressures to produce a high volume of material at speed—have focused on producing more snackable content and shorter reports, which we can’t review in the same way as longer-form publications, so have unfortunately  dropped out of the rankings.  

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has also had an impact on the quality of the publications produced throughout the last year, to a greater or lesser degree. There has been a fall in the global average score for all of the thought leadership we have reviewed, and two of the top five ranked publishers have also experienced a drop in their overall score. It’s our view that bumpiness in terms of the quality of COVID-related material, at least in the early days of the pandemic, has played a part in this move down the quality curve.  

But despite the challenges 2020 has created, there’s also much to celebrate: Capgemini is to be congratulated for topping the rankings for the fifth review in succession—an achievement only previously matched by IBM. A total of five firms produced outstanding publications that achieve the top scoring band, hitting high quality metrics right across the board. And if anyone is looking for a great example of a report that ticks lots of boxes—particularly in terms of grabbing the audience’s attention, looking good, and benefiting from a strong basis of research and analytics—look no further than PwC’s Navigating the rising tide of uncertainty.  

Our latest thought leadership ratings