In Richard Edelman’s new blog post, he discuses that that in order to achieve resonance, a brand has to allow open conversations around a topic of societal interest. Brands have to be willing to risk losing control in exchange for gaining credibility. The three step process behind this has been defined by the Tuck Business School as ‘meaning management’.
This approach works exceptionally well when complemented by what we have been developing at the company for some time through the Topology of Influence.
Whereas the Tuck approach is bottom up, the topology methodology relies on targeting the smallest group first. The raison d’être behind this is that in order for a message to truly flow throughout the web/world then the most effective method is to engage firstly with the idea starters. Of course the approach should not be limited to this group but we should also actively target selected amplifiers and curators too.
We are currently at a tipping point whereby sociology and technology are colliding enabling us to identify and engage with different kinds of influential people according to their behavioural characteristics.
It drives me mad how some brands are pushing the same marketing message at every ‘influencer’. My view is that we should adapt the strategy dependent upon the kind role that someone has in the topology.
For example, for idea starters you should have an argument. This kind of person does not want to be spammed with content but enjoy the rigour of a discussion that promotes or debates their theory. I tested this out personally by seeing if I could engage with someone whose time is in high demand. Instead of requesting a meeting, I sent them an email that referred to a premise they had championed and disagreed with it via a structured argument. The result – I was invited to meet with this ‘idea starter’ in person.
Conversely, this approach would be less successful with amplifiers. To engage with with this group, who do not have the time to get into deep discussion as they have numerous deadlines to manage to feed their high volume audiences, you need to send them pre-packaged content. This shouldn’t be a shock as it was the premise behind a press release. Of course there are other rules to apply (such as relevance, already having a relationship with the amplifier and appropriateness of delivered content).
There is a perfectly valid reason why we need to understand influence. Brands and marketers have limited time and money so we must engage with the people that count in the right manner. Only of we do this can we hope to have our message spread.