Filling the Influence Vacuum

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in CHI Contemplation
Tags: public relations, marketing communications, pr, integrated marketing communications, social media marketing, internet marketing

“I’d like to thank the Union Leader…for NOT endorsing me!”

There’s more than meets the eye in this statement from Ron Paul’s celebration speech following his second place finish in the New Hampshire GOP primary. More than just taunting the editors of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper (whose endorsed candidate finished in fourth place with less than 10 percent of the vote), Paul uses the Union Leader as a surrogate for all the established media and effectively says, “Your endorsements have no value.”

In politics, as in many spheres of life, the Internet has reduced the power of traditional influencers and facilitated the rise of peer-to-peer endorsements. Not only do we find evidence of this trend on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List that provide comparisons, endorsements and testimonials, we see it in an unstructured, but no less effective, way on our own Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

It’s the newest answer to one of the oldest questions – whom do you trust? Trust no longer reposes automatically with the media, as their influence is increasingly undermined by the virtually limitless, instant and credible online content available through sources that have proved their legitimacy and gained our trust.

This is a key challenge facing brand marketers, as we accelerate through new generations of communications technology and applications. When the old, formerly trusted intermediaries lose their influence over your audiences, how do you establish and maintain trust in an environment defined by peer-to-peer influence? We invite you to share your thoughts with us.

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