25 July 2011 88 Comments

Brand Influence or Popularity: Which camp are you?

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals


We live in the age of buzzword, noise, conversation. Every strong brand today understands the impact of third party endorsement, word of mouth as it tends to reduce cost of marketing and other allied costs. No wonder, every brand tries to outdo the others in building strong engagement with its stakeholder at both online and offline. People count popularity or influence online with numbers of followers, fans, ‘likes’. After all to many there is wisdom of the crowd. As an individual, while I do understand honey will always pull ants, sometimes having crowd may not mean anything without influence. This accounted for why I will rather prefer a thousand engaged followers to ten Millions of followers without any interaction.popular-brand-influential-brand-strong-brand-powerful-brand.jpg

From every indication there is a difference between brand popularity and influence. I do know many will go for brand popularity. But  some believe brand influence counts. But beforewe  go forward, let us examine the two words. Popularity speaks of fame, attractiveness, regard and esteem among other words. Brand popularity helps in enjoying fame, esteem among teeming crowds. A recent white paper on influence and popularity I just read online states on the other hand ‘influence drives, motivates, is steadfast, causes people to take action while popularity is hip and perhaps amusing and wanes easily amid fickle audience’. The conclusion of the whitepaper survey was that influence is serious and popularity is fun.

 Given the above, especially in view of online community where many believe we must judge a brand by numbers of followers it has, which one will your brand considers as valuable?. A general consensus still believe we cannot easily differentiate the two-many believe there is thin line between the two and each needs other to move forward.  It is important each brand custodians understand what their brands aim to achieve before going headlong with any of the two.

For many of the respondents in the above survey, they thought ‘Influence is the next level after popularity, Influential brand has focus, they also have quality content, they cause measurable outcomes and have depth of relationship with stakeholders than a popular brand’.

In conclusion, the whitepaper concluded that an influential brand has unique advantage over popular brands. Some of these include: they engage in dialogue, listen and respond relevant to the audiences that follow them, create original and compelling content as an  expert, they fulfil the promise they’ve made to earn the right to be part of the  conversation and finally they build trust and are authentic’.

As an individual I do know the process of growing to become influential brand is through value. Most influential brands become popular while many are anonymous. Being an influential brand for me is important. But what do you think? Please use the comment section.

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