What if your brand was the authority in your industry, but nobody cared?
In today’s constantly evolving world, conventional markers of power, like status and position, are losing their worth. In our current cultural landscape, influence is power. Just look at Google, which was named Most Influential Brand in the World by Ipsos this year. (Microsoft came in second, followed by Apple). According to the Ipsos study, the five attributes that push a brand’s influence are: Engagement, trustworthiness, a leading edge, corporate citizenship, and presence. If you think about it, Google kicks butt in all these dimensions.
As Nick Nanton and JW Dicks mention in their Fast Company article, all the knowledge and skill in the world are nothing without the power to have an impact on people. Unless you’ve got the influence to “make the world take notice,” they say, traditional branding techniques might fall short. Nanton and Dicks cite a Harvard Business Review research project that explored risk management chiefs of two English financial institutions under similar circumstances. The five-year study looked at the distinct results of two notably different management strategies: One influence-based method that unified a team and made a huge impact across the bank, and another method that split the team, resulting in little visibility past certain areas of expertise. The study demonstrated the power of influence and revealed four tools that Nanton and Dicks believe “can be used by anyone inside or outside a business to create the most powerful relationships possible.”
The four keys to influencing your audience are:
- Trailblazing – Find new ways to use your team’s expertise. The successful bank officer formed new opportunities by having weekly meetings with every department of the bank, and even attended executive meetings. “In terms of branding, trailblazing means finding innovative ways to connect with potential customers,” Nanton and Dicks say.
- Toolmaking – Develop and provide tools that exemplify and extend expertise. The authors suggest using “informational and influential instruments as books, infomercials, and branded films” to boost influence. The brand that dedicates the time, effort and expense to create these tools – and uses them exceptionally – stands out from its competitors.
- Teamwork – Use personal interaction. Get people “involved and on your side in a direct and personal manner,” say Nanton and Dicks, “where they feel your company is responsive to their needs.” A couple of examples include creating contests or a feedback website. “Whenever you can directly involve your customers in your marketing and branding efforts, it’s much more effective and influential.”
- Translation – Help your audience understand complex content. Eliminate jargon from your message to prospects so they can completely understand your products and services. Your clear communication will be appreciated. “Branding superstars such as Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil are masters at this kind of communication – and understand how to break down complex clinical concepts for [wide] consumption…. That’s a big part of why they wield such a huge influence with their audiences,” the article says.
Use the four Influence Keys above and you’ll develop the clout, credibility and likeability to wield great influence with your audience.