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Influence: The Critical Building Block

Influenca’ (In flu en sa) is one way to describe the epidemic that is sweeping marketers in every industry.  The great drumbeat about where the most important influencers are and how many we can engage in order to imprint our brand and sell our products is nothing new, but one would never know it.  We now have an influencer strata - from Celebrity to Nano with a host of categories in between.  

The fact is, “influence” and “influencers” have been the focus of marketers for a few hundred years – and the medium and vernacular have evolved right along with us. Because of social channels and today’s real time data, we can find people who, through their content, attract, engage and entertain.  Is this influence? Of course it is. Like-minds on a subject, a passion, a mission, have the potential to move mountains and a few products while they’re at it.  Hundreds of pieces on various sites have been written about the subject of influence and how “real” influence for the purpose of growing a brand really works.  Chasing the biggest influencers is expensive, risky and hard to justify if ROI is part of your equation.

What does make sense is having a keen understanding of your brand’s impression among the people you believe are your best advocates and customers as well as those you want to attract.  What do you know about the attitudes and behaviors, or psychographics, of these people? What do they care about? And, more important, why do they care about it?  

The Design Insights Forum is a lens into exactly this and we have been a part of synthesizing the “why” for a decade. Understanding who your influencers are and how to engage them is a critical building block of influence. It is not about buying them or hiring an agency to buy them for you.  It is an exercise in trust over time. Sound familiar?

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