Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Influence Pyramid and You

Written by Jay Fuller

Ever like a product so much that you felt inspired to hop onto your account and write a glowing review? Or maybe you just signed onto Twitter so you could share your utter love of that strange yeast by-product, Vegemite?

Really? You like this stuff?

In the age of the Internet, everyone has the power to shape a brand.

Understanding the relationships between different online influencers is an important step in building brand awareness and strategically positioning content. So let’s start at the top.

More Content Makes a World of Difference

Take a look at Kraft’s website for Vegemite. Pretty static, right? Looks like they hired someone to write a few recipes and then called it a day.

Now check out Breville’s Food Thinkers site. Here we have daily updates with new recipes, articles, and videos providing valuable, dynamic content. Notice the difference? Consumers can.

Both brands hired journalists to flesh out their content, but at the top of the Influence Pyramid, there’s only so much they can do.

For the Love of the … Brand?

Just below you have the digital influencers. These guys are the ultimate super fans. Forget money, it’s all about the love.

When a friend teased Scott Lewis about his obsession with Dunkin Donuts way back in 1999, he responded by starting the Dunkin Donuts Talk Blog. Before long, the site was getting almost 2000 unique visits a day.

But Dunkin Donuts never really embraced the online community Lewis had built and the site has since become a shell of its former self. Did DD miss a branding opportunity? We think so.

Johnny Apple Seed

Leaders like Lewis aren’t quite as common as prosumers. Remember that Amazon review you wrote? Or that tweet about Vegemite? This is where you belong.

Prosumers are interested consumers who seed content by sharing links, writing reviews, and participating in online communities. How influential can they be? According to Retrevo, Apple Ipad tweets shot up ten-fold on the day of its announcement to about 500-600 tweets a minute. That’s a lot of brand related content.

And Then There’s the Rest

At the bottom of our pyramid, you find the consumers. They might not be inspired to participate in content creation, but you better believe they read. And read. And read.

They represent about 90% of the online crowd. These are the people who read prosumer reviews and tweets, specialty blogs, and officially created content and take it all to heart.

Consumers ultimately decide brand value with their time and their wallets, so it's important to understand how the influence of brand journalists, digital influencers, and prosumers trickles down. Once you understand the structure of the Influence Pyramid, you've got an essential roadmap for navigating online brand strategy.


Andrew Davis (TPL) said...

Nice to see you posting the article from last week! Thanks so much.
How's the ukulele playing going?
- Drew

Jay said...

Seems my parents dropped the ball and sent my ukulele a little late. Won't get it until next week. I'm in serious uke withdrawal here!