Leadership is the activity of influencing people

to cooperate toward some goal which they come to find desirable.

What is Influence?

The term "INFLUENCE" is very fashionable right now, especially on the web. There are even tools for measuring personal influence. We must, therefore, go back to basics and remember that the concept of legitimacy is the basis of any strategy of influence.

The influence defined by Philip Sheldrake, marketing consultant and author of the book “ the business of influence” (2012) was one of the forerunners in the initiation of this subject. He gives a fairly simple definition of influence: " You have been influenced when you think something that you would not have thought, or that you are doing something that you would not have done". As Nicolas Chabot notes, the interest of this definition is to show clearly how much influence is linked to an impact: "did I change a behavior, did I change the action of the audience to which I addressed myself? If yes, then there was an influence”.

For Lee Odden, founder of the American digital marketing agency Top Rank and famous American influencer of content marketing, influence must be defined through the prism of the person of the influencer: an influencer is thus a person who, on a given subject, has acquired particular credibility in its network and in doing so, has developed an ability to influence the members of this network. This definition is particularly innovative and is part of a trend that is completely contrary to the idea of scoring that we traditionally have of it. Influence is analyzed here in terms of impact: do I have the possibility of having an impact on my audience, or not?

Nicolas Chabot also gave the definition of the influence of Sam Fiorella, author of the book " influencer marketing " published two years ago and having laid the founding foundations of the practice of influence marketing. The latter writes thus: " The business of influence evolves before our eyes, it is no longer defined by rating platforms (a reference to Klout first to have democratized the expression social influence) but to the ability to be able to influence the convictions and actions of the target audience”.

What is real influence?

Having influence consists in persuading a person or a group to change their point of view. Without coercion or manipulation, it is a question of modifying the collective beliefs of his community or of an entire people.

The (real) influence is contextual

As Nicolas Chabot points out, there is, so, a real convergence of opinion between three influencers towards a central point constituting influence: the influence is above all contextual. In fact, this belief that there is a general influence and ONE general influencer for a variety of domains does not correspond to reality.

Great politicians are often influencers having a huge impact on fields and industry, particularly in social, economic or environmental matters. However, if you are a company marketing laser printers, the "influence" of this politician - undisputed elsewhere - will not be of much use to you.

Nicolas Chabot explained that in terms of influence, the first question is not so much to identify his influencers, but rather to know which industry you are looking for? Where do your customers influence? And if they are, where are they, in what areas? If you sell household appliances and your customers are influential on mobile telephony the relevance will be quite low.

The influence is therefore really contextual and according to Nicolas Chabot, this context is defined by 3 themes: (1) the profile of the person; (2) the subject covered; (3) timing. So you have to be there at the right time with the right content and send it to the right person.

To complement his point, Nicolas Chabot cited the example of two influencers extremely known in the technology industry in England, Jason Falls and Robert Scoble. Certainly, their influences are exerted in the global technology industry but in practice, they are in two extremely different fields. One is a great influencer on tech computing and cloud computing; the second is a B2C influencer on innovation, televisions, gadgets and other connected objects. Their audiences are so very distinct, the subjects they address have nothing to do with it and the context in which they intervene will also be completely separate. But, many brands regularly confuse them.