"Influence is not something done by certain people to other people. It's the result of those people we call The Influenced doing something in response to those we call Influential." [Mark Earls]
Influence is not something that is done to people. Public relations professionals work on identifying the people they'd like to reach and crafting messages that appeal to them in order to get the word out and sway publics.
To understand why your PR pitches may strike out, we'll take a look at the three main components and six drivers of influence through a PR lens.(1.) the content of your message
In the promotional part of PR, it must address what the product or service is and does to influence buying decisions. What's the function of your product or service? Who does it help? Is there a case study you can point people to that illustrates this point? How does this product or service make people feel?
Another aspect of PR is concerned with informing people about the importance of an issue to persuade them that your point of view has merit.
The Chevy Volt influential initiative at SxSW blended these two.
Plenty of control here.
(2.) the identity of the person who sends the message
The person on the receiving end of a message, or influenced, must trust the sender and believe that he or she really knows the product or service in question. While you may believe someone when she talks about designer clothing, you may be less inclined to take a recommendation on a car purchase from the same person.
While one can only influence as many people as he has access to, those connections come with other connections in turn -- it's the people on the other end of those connections that carry that influence forward.
Trust and competence are the key concepts here.
(3.) the context where the conversation is held
This is crucial to the power of messages. Messages passed on within trusted networks have less reach and greater impact than those circulated through dispersed communities. Because in part there’s usually a high correlation between people whose opinions we trust and the members of networks we most value.
That’s why old-fashioned kitchen table recommendations and their online equivalents remain so important. A person with six thousand connections on Twitter may pay attention to the messages of a handful people.
The real influence resides with the small, close-knit network of trusted friends.
According to psychologist Robert Cialdini, the six drivers of influence are:
- social proof
How do you navigate these drivers within the three components of influence?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.