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The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age by PHILIP SHELDRAKE

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3

INFLUENCE

This short chapter continues to tease out the language to ensure that we’re all singing with the same hymn sheet. I’m afraid there’s no getting around the need for such diligence – we’ve already seen how fuzzy terminology and past casual (mis)use of words has led to contradiction and befuddlement.

To me, influence is our be all and end all here. A quick reminder: you have been influenced when you think in a way you wouldn’t otherwise have thought, or do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done.

We can rephrase the Six Influence Flows:

1. Are we having the appropriate influence?

2. What influence do the stakeholders have on each other about us?

3. Are stakeholders appropriately influencing us?

4. How are our competitors influencing stakeholders?

5. What influence do the stakeholders have on each other about our competitors?

6. Are stakeholders appropriately influencing our competitors?

Influence, however, is a word that is just moving into that danger zone where it acquires some of the baggage we were trying to leave behind. During 2010 we witnessed marketing and PR practitioners develop an increasing obsession with various social networking number-crunching services positioned as being able to divine who’s got it; influence.

The problem with such services is their confusing popularity for influence. One can only determine that influence has taken place when you know someone now thinks in a way they wouldn’t otherwise have thought, or did something they ...

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