The era of effortful influence

Back in the day, influence was easily bought and I don't mean cash for questions.

We are working in the era of 'effortful influence', argues Adam Mack
We are working in the era of 'effortful influence', argues Adam Mack
As a brand, you could open your media wallet like Lodsamoney (ageing Gen X reference) or splash your advertising cash on any number of mass reach channels or celebrities that would help your brand reach eyeballs. 

Influence was, frankly, easy.

PR tended to be the Del Boy (another ageing Gen X reference) of marketing, grafting hard on lower budgets to convince those with influence to buy our story (and ultimately our products). 

Influence was, frankly, hard won. Now things have changed. 

Reach and content have been democratised - in theory, anyone can make content that can reach anyone (through social media with pick-up in mainstream media). 

And, whilst money can still buy you eyeballs, it can no longer buy you love, certainly not the kind of love that the likes of Zoella and PewDiePie enjoy through a more authentic relationship with their followers. 
Reach is a hygiene factor, engagement is the Grail.

The mere fact that the Festival of Marketing – the UK’s premier marketing event – themed itself 'Influence' this year (surely that's PR's domain?) was an indication that the broader industry has woken up to this and is facing the fact that they can no longer just throw money at the problem. They need to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. 

Stop with the Lodsamoney and find their inner Del. Put their backs into it.

The sessions I managed to attend taught me that there is much more thought and effort going into influence than ever before.

Adidas shared their Tango Squad concept - an influencer programme that is based on giving 500 football-obsessed, hyper connected teenagers in each market exclusive access to dream football content through dark social channels (whatsapp and its ilk) in the hopes they will have more impact than a single celebrity with 1m followers. 

It's paying dividends for them but can you imagine managing 5,000 teenagers through whatsapp? OMFG.

And finally, Katie Price was to found talking about being one of social media's original influencers. 

Now I don't know about you, but when I think Jordan, I tend to think 'talentless celebrity' or at least someone who doesn't really work for a living. 

Having watched her session, I have to say I was wrong - she's a serious grafter. Behind the 'glamour', she's worked very, very hard for her influence.

And brands need to do the same. They need to earn love, not spend money. Because in an era of effortful influence; money will only get you so far.

Adam Mack is chief strategy officer, EMEA, at Weber Shandwick

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