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« My (Philosophical) Take on "Influentials" v. Watt | Main | The Infrastructure of Relationships »

February 04, 2008

Comments

Mike Driehorst

Elizabeth,
Great post in talking about control v. influence.

In terms of control, as you note, there are very few things that are really in control. Talking about control in a marketplace is pointless as no one really has control. In terms of sales, you can say that consumers have the ultimate control, never total control, because they decide what to purchase. However, businesses still have their own power -- control, if you will -- to adjust their operations, seek other markets, etc., as smart businesses do to adapt to changing conditions.

It seems that we should focus on influence. Businesses initiate all influence by starting (trying to fill a need, or create on) and selling & marketing themselves. When we talk about brand or message, I view it as businesses (and all organizations) project their brand, and the marketplace reacts to it. This brand projection can be intentionally -- via advertising, say, -- and unintentionallly -- via poor or exceptionally positive customer service, for example.

The marketplace simply reacts. That reaction is in purchase decisions, and word of mouth. And, smart companies (like Dell) react to negative feedback and adjust.

Ideally, it's a back-and-forth relationship.

I'm not sure it really matters to talk about who has more or ultimate influence, the business or the marketplace. What businesses need to realize is that influence is a two-way street, and they need to listen for both lanes of traffic.

--Mike

Mike Driehorst

Elizabeth,
Great post in talking about control v. influence.

In terms of control, as you note, there are very few things that are really in control. Talking about control in a marketplace is pointless as no one really has control. In terms of sales, you can say that consumers have the ultimate control, never total control, because they decide what to purchase. However, businesses still have their own power -- control, if you will -- to adjust their operations, seek other markets, etc., as smart businesses do to adapt to changing conditions.

It seems that we should focus on influence. Businesses initiate all influence by starting (trying to fill a need, or create on) and selling & marketing themselves. When we talk about brand or message, I view it as businesses (and all organizations) project their brand, and the marketplace reacts to it. This brand projection can be intentionally -- via advertising, say, -- and unintentionallly -- via poor or exceptionally positive customer service, for example.

The marketplace simply reacts. That reaction is in purchase decisions, and word of mouth. And, smart companies (like Dell) react to negative feedback and adjust.

Ideally, it's a back-and-forth relationship.

I'm not sure it really matters to talk about who has more or ultimate influence, the business or the marketplace. What businesses need to realize is that influence is a two-way street, and they need to listen for both lanes of traffic.

--Mike

Geoff Livingston

Perception is reality. A company can only control it's own actions, and even then it can't control it's employees actions. Influence is the right word, and doing the right thing whenever possible is the best way to create positive perception.

I think marketing managers would be well served thinking about their own lives and how they react to attempts to control them, from inside the corporate walls, from their family, from other companies who want them to buy...

Doug Bedell

A timely post, Elizabeth, especially for me. Sometimes corporations think they can control more about their environment than they actually can – especially in terms of public relations. I was the communication manager at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station for 14 years after the TMI-2 accident in 1979. I'm concerned now about the request TMI's current owner, Exelon, has made to the NRC to move the plant's media center from Harrisburg to Coatesville, Pa., 55 miles away. Exelon has a technical center there for its three Central Pa. nuclear plants, including TMI. That makes sense economically and perhaps technically. But I'm not sure it would be smart during a nuclear accident with a radiation release occurring, however small. Exelon apparently feels it could "control" the information flow from a distance by webcasting the press conferences to anyone and everyone. But I'm not sure that, in this age of social media, that would be smart. Moreover, is empathy still a prime PR principle? Any thoughts?

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