The Difference Between Brandividuals & Influencers – Why You Need Both

influencer brandividual

From creating advocacy programs to the content co-creation we specialize in at our agency, working with influencers presents a number of challenges, especially when it comes to effectively identifying, qualifying and recruiting.

In fact, according to a study by Augure, 61% of companies say finding “true” influencers is a top challenge.

Everyone is influential about something, but the ability to influence varies greatly across individuals, between different audiences and even at different moments in time.

Defining Influence. As Sam Fiorella, Co-Author of Influence Marketing says, “Influence is the swaying of beliefs, behaviors or actions.” Therefore, it stands to reason that identifying influencers must take into account their ability and willingness to affect action – not just achievement of high fan, friend and follower counts.

The Power of We: How to Build Personal & Corporate Brand Thought Leadership Through Social Content

Mari Smith & Lee Odden

Mari Smith exemplifies personal brand through social content

Building personal brand online is easier than ever. It’s also underrated and misunderstood by many companies trying make sense of where personal and brand social media engagement fit in the marketing and communications mix.

For myself, blogging, speaking and becoming an author have been less about becoming a “brandividual” than to serve as a proxy to the consulting that TopRank Online Marketing offers.  This approach has served us well, resulting in creating awareness internationally and keeping customer acquisition costs extremely low.

Alternatively, many companies focus solely on brand promotion without any real people behind those social media interactions.  This generic brand approach often finds social content efforts lacking. Engagement tends to be low, attention spent by the community superficial and the momentum of community growth is elusive.

Brandividualism: Dilemma or Opportunity?

Many business owners and managers are perplexed by the social web. The effect of customer participation with social media on brands is undeniable. The effect of employee participation with social media can be a bit of a quandary.  The range of acceptance for social web activity runs the gamut from IT blocking all internet connections to sites like Twitter and Facebook to the expectation that every employee spend work and personal time as social media brand ambassadors.

Being social on the web isn’t natural for everyone and certainly not for every company. Once people and companies “get it” and develop processes, listening programs and overall strategy, social media policies tend to lighten up and move towards being productive vs limiting.