The Meaning of Influence and How You
Can Build a More Powerful Brand

Brand strategist and coach Liz Dennery Sanders discusses Kim Kardashian and the meaning of influence for businesses

I know we can’t all be Kim Kardashian.

I’m not just talking about her glowy complexion and endless budget for fashion, either. I’m talking about her empire. (Hello $1.8 BILLION net worth!)

Her face is recognized around the world…

She’s landing lucrative brand deals left and right…

She stars in a hit reality television show viewed by — well, almost everyone…

And with a single Instagram post, she has the ability to influence hundreds of millions of people.

Her influence is her superpower.

The good news is – your brand doesn’t have to be world-famous to have brand influence. And plus, could the world really handle another Kardashian anyway?

So for those of us who aren’t billionaires (yet!), let’s dive into what influence actually means.

What is influence?

If we’re being technical, the official definition of influence is, “The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” But in simple terms, influence really comes down to changing someone else in some way.

It could mean…

Changing the way they think or feel about something.

Changing the way they think or feel about themselves.

Changing the way they vote.

Changing the food they choose to eat.

Changing the way they make purchases.

The truth is, no matter how strong-willed we are, every single one of us is influenced by other people or brands every single day.

Who has influence?

It’s easy to recognize the influence carried by people like Rosa Parks. There’s no need to measure likes and follows here — she sparked an entire movement. And she didn’t have a platform to begin with!

Women like Gloria Steinem and Michelle Obama come to mind. And my early mentor, Maria Shriver and her inspiring Sunday Paper.

These women stand out as authorities and visionaries. They have the power to change our mindsets and our choices with their moving words and actions and the content they share. Or as Maria always says, “inspiring hearts and minds.”

But let’s look at some of the more unexpected people with influence.

Like the Instagram hula hoop star who captivates thousands of followers with her hoop dancing videos. This savvy little lady leverages her platform to secure brand deals with hula hoop brands and influences her community to purchase from her brand partners. Her simple choice to share her passion with the world led to an avenue for gaining influence.

With the sprawling nature of the world wide web, anyone can create a loyal following.

And as a business owner with an online presence, I know you’re probably wondering:

How do you know if your brand is influential in today’s oversaturated, cluttered digital space?

There are countless ways to measure influence, and some of them are more obvious than others:

  • Community: This can mean many different things, including the number of followers, members, or email subscribers your brand has. The greater your reach, the more influential your brand can be.
  • Relatability: How many people are liking your content and sharing it? How many people are commenting? When a lot of people are relating to your content, they’re feeling very seen and heard. When you can validate the experiences of others, your influence becomes much more powerful — especially when you can offer a solution to their problems.
  • Engagement: When you’re engaging with your audience (i.e. replying to comments, DMs, and emails), you’re proving to them that you’re a real human being with a caring heart. The more you can connect with your community, the greater your impact.
    • Wondering how you can improve these metrics? Read on, sister!

      How do you gain influence for your brand?

      Before your brand can gain a following, partnership, or even a solitary ounce of influence, there’s one crucial step — and you absolutely must not skip it!

      Fair warning… it’s not glamorous or shrouded in likes and follows, but it’s incredibly important.

      Are you ready to hear it?

      Here it is: Build a solid brand foundation FIRST.

      This means developing a clear message and mission. It means gaining a deep understanding of your audience and crafting a compelling offer for your products and services.

      Once you’re crystal clear on who you are, who you’re serving, and WHY you’re doing it, you’re ready to start gaining influence.

      Brands with influence use these two powerful tools to build their businesses.

      Brands can’t really grow a massive following all on their own. They must rely on larger, more powerful avenues to broaden their reach. In other words, the fastest way to grow your influence is to leverage other people’s platforms.

      Two of the most powerful avenues for gaining influence are the media and influencers.

      • Traditional Media: Even with the rise of digital marketing, traditional media is still as important as ever. According to Harvard Business Review, “As consumers are spending most of their waking hours online, it seems they are becoming increasingly numb to conventional digital advertising and engagement.” That’s why it’s more and more important for brands to make good use of traditional media placements in print, television, radio and yes, digital.
      • Influencers and Celebrities: Influencer marketing is relatively new to the media scene, but it’s incredibly effective. By leveraging the platforms of celebrities (or even local hoop Instagram stars!), your brand can get in front of much larger audiences within your niche.
        • If you’re saying “Liz, that sounds pretty intimidating…” and are wondering exactly how to start tapping into these exciting sources of influence for your brand, stick around! Over the coming weeks here on the blog, we’ll be taking a deep dive into these topics. You’ll see that it’s not actually intimidating at all!

          In the meantime, let’s make sure you’re squared away with the most important step: developing a solid brand foundation.

          To influence your community, you’ve simply GOT to connect with them. Without a clear foundation and a captivating brand story, you’ll be hard-pressed to draw in many clients — and you can pretty much forget about attracting ideal clients.

          But don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.

          This summer only, I’m offering limited seats in my exclusive Brand Camp, where we’ll refine your brand story, strengthen your message, create your irresistible offer, build your email list, and give your digital presence some expert attention.

          Once your brand foundation is in tip-top shape, your business will be ready to take the next exhilarating step and gain INFLUENCE!