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Thought Leadership and the Power of the Poll

Bold Narratives
Bold Narratives
April 24, 2023
5 min read

Organizations seeking to own the issues and drive the agenda for their market need to have a pulse on public opinion to drive thought leadership and maintain their competitive edge. Opinion polls are a tool to measure the attitudes and perceptions of customers, stakeholders, and the general public. But they also can be used to position the organization as a market leader and influencer.

Issues Ownership as a Strategy for Leadership

Companies need to differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to succeed. One way to do this is by owning issues that matter to their customers and stakeholders. By taking a stand on important social, environmental, or economic issues, companies can position themselves as thought leaders and build long-term relationships with their customers.

By owning issues, organizations can also benefit from increased media attention and public recognition. This can help to raise awareness of their brand and products and establish themselves as leaders in their industry.

The concept of "issue ownership" involves a company taking a leadership position on a particular issue that is relevant to its industry or market. This can be achieved through a variety of tactics, such as public statements, advocacy campaigns, or strategic partnerships with relevant organizations. But one of the more powerful tactics is the opinion poll or survey.

The “Mars Generation National Opinion Poll” survey was designed to measure attitudes toward human and robotic exploration of Mars. The poll asked respondents to provide opinions about space exploration missions, the goal of human space exploration, NASA’s budget, and the future of human space exploration.

Ten years ago, NASA and the space industry were looking to advance the case for the human exploration of Mars. In 2013, my firm partnered with Explore Mars, a nonprofit policy organization committed to ensuring the human exploration of Mars by the 2030s, on which I serve as a Board Member. To help NASA and the space community advance the agenda for Mars exploration, we released the inaugural Mars Generation National Opinion Poll. The poll surveyed a national sample of 1,101 U.S. citizens ( and the report received international attention reaching millions of citizens, government, and business leaders. The poll was frequently cited within NASA and on Capitol Hill to help guide policy decisions on human space exploration. The Mars Generation Poll is a great example of issues ownership. Making the case for Mars exploration by going directly to citizens, helped NASA and Explore Mars gain Congressional and national support for the mission.

In a 2020 article written by Andy Crestodina and published by OrbitMedia, 61% of marketers surveyed said that thought leadership should publish data to validate their position. According to the research, marketers agreed that thought leadership should be clear, challenge the status quo and be original.

With recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI), marketers can create content efficiently with tools like ChatGPT. But such tools pull data from existing content on the Internet, repurposing, rewriting, and reusing it. With repurposed content, nothing is new. No new ideas. No original thinking.

True thought leadership and issues ownership must be original. Original research is one of the most effective strategies.

Opinion polls and research have been used for decades to measure public opinion on a variety of issues, from politics to consumer behavior. With the rise of social media and online polling, it's become easier than ever for companies to conduct surveys and gather data on their customers' attitudes and perceptions. But what makes opinion polls so powerful is their ability to influence the issues that drive customer value and behavior. It is not so much the customer data, but the market influence that makes the opinion poll an important arrow in the marketer’s quiver.

Bold View™: Own the Issues that Matter to Your Stakeholders

Your value is not well understood. Customers and partners are looking for strategic direction, and your competitors are leading the way providing a more compelling vision with data to support their leadership position. The problem you solve is unclear.

We can help you identify a thought leadership issue you can own and influence that will support your organizational goals and growth objectives

With Bold View, we help you identify an issue to own that matters to your customer and stakeholders. We will manage the research design, survey, panel selection, and implementation, and deliver a final report coupled with a strategy to reach your audience, move people, and own the issues that matter.

Learn more at or book a meeting with our leadership team at Bold View Meeting.