Moving the needle on good quality thought leadership

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As of this week, we have published our latest quality ratings report. In these reports, we review a representative sample of the thought leadership produced by some of the world’s major consulting firms. We look at this through the lens of our longstanding ratings methodology that takes a client-eye view of thought leadership effectiveness, specifically around the four pillars of quality: differentiation, appeal, resilience and prompting action.  

One of the many advantages of the fact that we’ve been looking at the thought leadership produced by consulting firms for so many years is that we can look at trends over time. There is some good news here—and inevitably some bad—when we examine how overall scores have evolved.  

The good news is that those firms with lower scores have made considerable strides in terms of improving the quality of their content. Whereas the second half of 2011 saw the lowest performing firm hit an average of a mere 6.55, in H2 2021 the average score for the firm in 20th place in our rankings was a much more respectable 8.52. Bear in mind that we recommend that any piece of thought leadership scoring less than 8.0 should not be published, and it’s clear that we have indeed seen some stellar progress towards achieving solid quality standards in more recent years.  

However, it's less good news at the top of the rankings, which has seen scores stay broadly stable over the years. What does this tell us? Perhaps that it’s easier to tackle the big issues around quality than it is to push the needle from the good to the very good. But for most firms, the path towards improving quality is in plain view, in the shape of the top-scoring examples within their own catalogue.  

Take Accenture’s Youthquake meets green economy, which scores highly across all criteria—indeed, it is reports of this calibre that have helped Accenture to top the rankings table in this review. It is very credible, combining primary research with modelling of data drawn from secondary sources to develop a unique perspective on the growth of green jobs in Asia Pac. It provides a masterclass in explaining some complex arguments in a succinct and engaging manner, and delivers a strong argument for action. Accenture can be proud of the fact that it tops our overall rankings, but its average score would be even higher if all of its output hit the high bar represented by this report. And of course, the same is true for other firms—looking at the best of what they do and applying those standards across the board would see the global average score shoot up. It’s something we’d really like to see happen, and we think it would reap great rewards for firms that take the time to do so. 

Explore our latest Quality Ratings of Thought Leadership report, here.  

Our latest thought leadership ratings

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