Cymfony Defines A New Social Media Term: Influence 2.0
I received an early FYI from Jim Nail on Cymfony's new Influence 2.0 concept and website launches, and where are some of my thoughts about the initiative.
I like the fact that Cymfony has filtered the concepts down to four in a table.
However, I do think that many of these ideas have already been discussed in the community, the cluetrain manifesto being the biggest "influence" on the community. I think the establishment of a wiki sends the right message to the community. Jim, I'd be interested in hearing about who influenced you in the writing of influence 2.0. And I'd encourage you to be as egalitarian with referencing other sources as possible.
Cymfony is basically stating that the old way of trying to influence the community's conversations, pitching journalists, issuing press releases etc does not work in today's world. Where personally generated websites allow more people to have voice in a community's conversation than ever before. And while not all voices are equal, smaller voices do now have a stronger stake in the ground than once they did just a few short years ago.
What Jim Nail and Cymfony is really saying is that because more customers and consumers are more influential than once they were, the rules of the game have changed for companies. A company can no longer afford to ignore the majority of voices, and concentrate on the elite in traditional media. Now that everyone has the tools and the ability to influence the conversation, if a company wants to be successful in a marketplace then that company will have to recognize that their conversation is no longer with just a few elite media people, but potentially because of the new tools of interaction with a company's entire audience.
In essence Influence 2.0 is not about the ability of a company to influence customers, but really about the ability of customers to influence companies. Yes, influence 2.0 is not about a company even trying to influence their audience to accept their point of view; it's really a realization of the marketing concept. The process of identifying customers needs and wants to satisfy them efficiently and profitably. Marketing starts and continues with listening or research, and to me Influence 2.0 starts with listening and conversing with customers to build products and services that meet their needs and wants.
I do think we have to be very careful how we use the term 'influence' outside of the PR community. I think anyone would be concerned when told that a company is trying to influence him or her, unless that conversation is put in context, being new to PR I know I was uneasy when I first heard a company was trying to influence me. I wondered if the company might be trying to play mind games or something!
Rather if you tell the world that you understand the new realities of the marketplace. That as a company you accept that customers have greater power to influence a company, then by putting the focus on the new power of customers to influence the debate I think customers will see the term, Influence 2.0 to mean what it is, a coming together of customers and companies to build better products. The Cluetrain manifesto succeeded in capturing the concept that customers are in the driving seat very clearly. I personally see many of the hallmarks of the concepts of the Cluetrain manifesto in Influence 2.0.
I've personally been struggling to find the right language to describe the new reality of blogging; my preference is for the term "blogger relations", though I've been open to expanding my definition of that term. My recent discussion with Shel Holtz on the topic illustrates the debate.
As an Internet marketing professional, I can tell you what's important in the end is how the community defines a term. A clear definition will produce wider adoption. Therefore I encourage Jim Nail and Cymfony to be open about how the term is used and defined.
Posted by johncass at June 19, 2006 11:41 AM
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