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Influence and Advocacy

A brief history

simone sandoval

on 3 December 2015

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Transcript of Influence and Advocacy

"Small World Experiment"
is the foundation for the concept of "Six Degrees of Separation"
Asked people on the West coast of America to get a letter to someone they don't know on the East coast using only acquaintances*

Recognised social network 'hubs':
"Mr Jacobs" in the Small World Experiment
"Erdos number" in Mathematics
Six degrees of Kevin Bacon*
Influence and advocacy
- a brief history...

Gabriel Tarde
Sociologist, criminologist, Frenchie
Works & theories:
From his book "The Laws of Imitation". A dense, heavy, intellectual-like tome

Theory formed through studying criminology:
Crimes spread in waves through society as if they were fashions - transferred this phenomenon to the wider social world
3 laws of imitation
Sadly ignored in his time.
Kicked against the norm in Sociology at the time (Durkheim)
Little data available to prove his theories
Experiencing a renaissance since the '90s
Actor-Network Theory & Social Network Analysis
Paul Adams
Social Media boffin, marketer, author
Works & theories:
Wrote the book "
Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web
Illustrates the complexity of the spread of ideas
On influencers:
Retrospectively, it's easier to attribute the success of an idea/product to a single person (like Gladwell and Keller) than it is to understand the reality of the complex network they're a part of
Some people are more influential than others, but they're rarer than we think. We all influence the people around us to varying degrees depending on topic
Influence is spread through small groups of friends, where trust is present (homophily principle)
On influence:
As much about the people around us being open to influence than it is the initial influencer (low/high adoption threshold)

Believes the key to tapping into influence is connecting with small groups of people rather than targetting individuals
Duncan Watts
Mathematicians, network scientists
Works & theories:
Background in 'emergence theory'
Challenged the idea around the small world problem though in no way refutes the existence of highly connected networks
Instead critiques existing theories as not taking into account intricacies of networks
Influencers and network hubs have little impact on diffusion:
If something's going to catch on, it doesn't matter where it starts
Created models trying to replicate trends - anyone can start a trend, and are just as likely to hear about something from a friend as you are natural 'network hub'
Critiques current thinkers' lack of mathematical basis, just as much as they would critique the use of a model to back up theories
Research loks into into interactions and networks more so than influencers
Malcolm Gladwell
Author & journalist
Works & theories:
(As mentioned above) wrote the extremely popular
"The Tipping Point"
Works & theories:
He wrote
"The Influentials"
, stating that there is a small proportion of influential people guiding the decision of others across all categories
Economist, market researcher
Works & theories:
Was integral in understanding
Lead Users
championing their use in product development and innovation research
Frank Bass
Statimagician, mathematician
Works & theories:
Hugely influential, but frankly more relevant to accountants and economists than sociologists and network scientists
One of the most effective exponents of a 'contagion model'
Everette Rogers
Marketing Academic, sociologist, writer and re-writer of "Diffusion of Innovations"
Ernest Dichter
Marketing & psych guru. The "father of motivational research"
Works & theories:
The first person to seriously look into
Psychological needs & motivations behind advocacy

Stanley Milgram
Works & theories:
Believability of a recommendation increases with:
Expressive movements
Tangible evidence
Secrecy and hesitation (exclusivity)
Personal traits Influential to listeners:
Experts (with independence)
People of goodwill - interest of others at heart
Sharers of interest (someone like me)
Intimates 'empathic adaptation'
Bearers of tangible experience/proof
"Innovators adopt independently of the decisions of others. That is, pressure for adoption doesn't increase with the growth of adoption (quite the opposite)"
A key quote:
Eric Von Hippel
Lead user
Can this be done?
3 rules of epidemics aka 'agents of change':
1. The law of the few - change is dependent on involving a particular subset of people (very personality-based):
- "network hubs" (e.g. "Mr Jacobs", "Dennis Hopper", "Erdos")
- "information specialists". Knowledge, social skills, ability to communicate
- "persuaders". Charismatic, others want to agree with them
2. The stickiness factor - memorability of the message
3. The power of context - environment plays a key role
Key tipping point examples:
Economist, all-round nice guy
Ed Keller
Thoughts for Soup...
The idea that 10% are telling the other 90% what to do
He defines Influentials as:
NOT necessarily the...
Most successful
Best educated
First to use something
But MOST defined by
activism & community involvement
What makes up the
'Influential personality'?
Drawn to change
Embraces change
Values community
Doesn't 'want it all'
Implicit sharers
"Conduits for information for their communities"
A very grass roots idea

- e.g. the Obama election campaign
The experiment was essentially flawed on closer scrutiny. Around 70% of letters hit dead ends...which Milgram conveniently ignored.
Product experience:

Experience leads to talking. It's human nature to share a positive experience
Self motivated:
Status seeking & self-affirming: Gaining attention, being in the know, feeling pioneering, confirmation of self, a sense of superiority
Motivated for others:

The need and intent to help others. Expressing care, friendship, love.
The key motivational forces of advocacy:
Lead users...
face needs that will be general in the marketplace long before everyone else
would benefit from solving these needs, so often innovate to solve their own problems
To find Lead Users, you first need to identify trends (according to Von Hippel)
Can you use lead users to identify trends?
Hush puppies revival
Crime drop in NY
Seth Godin
Marketer, author, entrepreneur
Work & theories:
Prodigious Author:
Purple Cow
Permission Marketing
Unleashing the Ideavirus
People have more power today in the market than they ever did
Just interrupting and shouting at people to get attention is an inefficient approach to marketing (and one doomed to fail)
Instead strive to spread an idea - hence the
an idea that moves and grows and infects everyone it touches
is based on customers marketing to each other
He refers to
Hives & Sneezers
Hives - people an idea has relevance to
Sneezers - people likely to spread idea
A successful ideavirus requires sneezers and weezers affecting the hive
Behaviour change happens in increments. A single recommendation is rarely enough to create action. Change is a culmination of several sources of varying impact
Societies are built on small interactions amongst individuals, facilitating imitation and innovation - the fundamental forces of change
People don't understand why they recommend things to others...Dichter does: It's about the product, their own self esteem, and the benefit of others. Doesn't hurt to take into consideration the listener as well.
"Imitation , conscious and unconscious as a fundamental interpersonal trait"
Social Psychologist best known for his 'shocking' obedience to authority experiment
Illustrated the interconnectedness of individual networks & the role of 'hubs'.
Not actually the centre
of the hollywood universe
Currently the centre of
the hollywood universe
A listener's receptiveness hinges on
How people measure trust:
Their relationship to the speaker
Relationship of the speaker to the product
Do they know what they're talking about?
Hint: an altruistic advocate with experience and knowledge of a product is a hit
The key to ideas spreading through a social system hinges on PEOPLE (innovators and early adopters), and five distinct PRODUCT attributes*
"Diffusion of Innovations" is a huge, ongoing body of work with far more detail than this one sentence can possibly do justice
The "chasm" - the transition from early adopters to early majority - is where most new products fail.
A concept theorised by Moore in the early 1990's
Is it better than what exists?
relative advantage
Does it suit me?
Is it easy to use?
Is it easy to trial?
Can other people see the results easily
Inter-personal channels are more effective in persuading an individual to accept a new idea
Opinion leaders
Five stages of the adoption process
Forming an opinion
Choosing to adopt or reject
Actually using something
Reinforcing (or otherwise) a decision
These first two stages are those which
opinion leaders
have the most impact
I'm an
opinion leader!
More likely to live here
Higher socioeconomic
Greater social
Greater exposure to
mass media
Four methods of measuring opinion leadership
1. Self-designation
"are you influential?"
2. Sociometric
"who are you influenced by?"
3. Key informants
"you know a bit about this, who are those people influenced by?"
4. Observation
"you don't know much about this, but take an independent look into it and if you can tell who influences who."
NOTE: this is just a very small part of a very large and expansive body of work
The Bass Diffusion Model!
Quantified Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations theory - accurately predicting product life cycle and sales
Who he influenced:
Marketers the world over.
Young girls looking to buy a realistic doll (he was integral in developing the Barbie Doll)
Lead users play an integral role in the formation of ideas and can be tapped into for more effective product development
It's the little things that make a BIG difference. Otherwise know as a 'Tipping Point', there's a 'moment of critical mass, a theshold or boiling point' that makes ideas, products, messages and behaviours spread like viruses!
10% of people tell the other 90% what to do
Individuals alone rarely start a trend. Instead small, independent groups of friends act as agents of change
Societies mimic nature by inherently syncronising with no clearly defined leader
& Steven Strogatz
Marketers no longer have the power to command attention - instead make a connection with your audience (it's all about authenticity) through respect, and allow them to spread the word!
Kevin Bacon
Harvey Keitel
The first to really take an interest in the role of the listener
Other people of note
Jonah Berger
Geoffrey Moore
James Surowiecki
Robert Cialdini
Walter Carl
Fred Reichheld
Peter Block
Academic, journalist
Author of Contagious
Business consultant
Developed the Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Hotmail, Napster, Polaroid cameras
Examples of Ideaviruses
Author of The Wisdom of Crowds
Academic, market researcher
WOM measurement specialist
Business consultant
Author of Crossing the Chasm
Author of Influence: Science & Practice
Business consultant
Author of Community: The Structure of Belonging
Mark Granovetter
Identified "the strength of weak ties" in the diffusion of influence and information
Anatol Rapoport
mathematician, biologist, psychologist, all round big brain
Theorised the evolution of social networks as "random-biased nets"
A fancy mathematics term that means he applied more human characteristics (the "biased") to what had previously been very static maths (the "random").
Got a bit stuck with no computers around to sort data
Full transcript