Rule #3: Check Out the Trendsetters

Recognize the influences

Consider different influencers and communication mediums

Individuals are influenced by cultural, social, personal, psychological factors.

Cultural factors include knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by humans as members of society (Tyler, 1871). These factors are linked closely with social norms, which are the unwritten rules of how to behave in a particular group or society (McGraw Hills, 2000).

Social factors include reference groups, family, social roles, and status (The Consumer Factor, n.d.; Management Study Guide, n.d.).

Reference and membership groups are social groups, related to social origin, work, hobbies, leisure etc. that an individual belongs to (The Consumer Factor, n.d.). These groups often have an influencer or brand advocate. Brand advocates are people who habitually share information and opinions on the products they use (Better Business Brand, 2012). In their ever expanding social circles their actions and opinions are valued and often influence the purchase or behaviour of others (Better Business Brand, 2012).

Personal factors are the characteristics of each individual including age and way of life; purchasing power and revenue; lifestyle; and personality and self concept (The Consumer Factor, n.d.; Management Study Guide, n.d.).

Psychological factors include motivation, perception, learning as well as beliefs and attitudes (Small Business, n.d.; Management Study Guide, n.d.; The Consumer Factor, n.d.)

Communication Channels

An audience is influenced through numerous mediums including word of mouth, printed materials, online recommendations and reviews, social media, and mass media (McGraw Hills, 2000; Lee & Kotler, 2011; Peters, 2014).


Tapping into Existing Networks make it easier to influence your audience 

Since the influential factors that motivate a consumer to make a purchasing decision have shifted rapidly and dramatically marketers must find ways to engage and maintain interest in their campaigns (Court e. al., 2009). Marketing campaigns that identify and engage with their influencers will be able to leverage their power (Fyson, 2014).

According to McKinsey & Company, online research, recommendations/criticism, and word of mouth are more influential than previous experience with the brand and marketing led by the company (McKinsey & Company, n.d.) This is especially true amongst the “millennial” and “mom” demographics (Forbes, 2014).

Similarly, BzzAgent has found brand advocates to be an asset to any campaign.   A brand advocate shares stories of their great experience and influence the behaviours of others.  They are also considered credible experts by their audience (Better Business Brand, 2012; Gladwell, 2000; Forbes, 2014).   Finally, they create content and communicate for your brand more than anyone else, online and offline (Better Business Brand, 2012).



determine the Influencers and Most Appropriate Communication Mediums

Tip#1: Find a champion

Once you have done the initial research on your target market, conduct additional research to find out which influential factors have the strongest impact on your audience.  Look into whether certain celebrities, community leaders or community groups are extremely popular within your target audience.

Tip#2: Find out how your market will listen

It is also important to look into various communication mediums that are popular among your audience to determine how your audience communicates with  its influencers, and ultimately how you will engage in conversation with them. Your audience may be  regular social media users, or perhaps they are of an older demographic that prefers daily newspaper deliveries and phone calls with friends, it is important to recognize the difference.  Gathering and interpreting this information will be essential to a successful campaign with an engaged and interactive audience.  Razorfish (2009) proved in its study that offline influencers ultimately have a stronger impact on individuals, so it is essential to research and exhaust all influential factors. Participate in your audience’s daily lives in an authentic, personal, credible and identifiable manner. This participation can include anything from direct engagement on social platforms to harnessing technologies with access to consumer social graphs to testing new communication strategies (Razorfish, 2009).


Ex#1: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge- Celebrities, Facebook and Peer to Peer fundraising

Love it or hate it, the ALS ice bucket challenge is an incredible marketing success which caused a 3,500% increase in donations to the ALS Association (Diamond, 2014).  Many people have already began to dissect the phenomenon, and Plenty Consulting, who specialize in charitable fundraising, claim that one of the ingredients in this recipe of success is “networked social proof”. Networked social proof simply means that the proof of your participation can be easily seen in your social network, similar to making a public pledge (Diamond, 2014). Because of the facebook component of the campaign, you are able to see all sorts of celebrities engage in the campaign, along with everyone in your social group. Add to that the nominations, someone in your social group is specifically requesting that you participate in the challenge. This is a great example of not only finding the right medium for your audience, but also getting the right influencers to call out others to do the challenge.


So remember: Recognize the influences

For a successful campaign, you must identify which influential factors play the strongest role in your target audience’s daily lives, how these factors influence your audience, and how you can communicate with them in order to ensure your message reaches your audience in a positive light.

By researching influencers and communication mediums, you will be able to create a successful campaign that will influence sustainable behaviour change.



The Consumer Factor (n.d.). Social factors affecting consumer behaviour. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Court, D., Elzinga, D., Mulder, S., & Vetvik, O.J. (2009, June). The consumer decision journey. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from

Diamond, D. (2014, August). The ALS ice bucket challenge has raised $100 million — and counting. Retrieved from

Fyson, C. (2014). The Importance Of Influencers And What They Mean For Your Business. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Social Factors affecting Consumer Behaviour. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Personal Factors affecting Consumer Behaviour. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Psychological Factors affecting Consumer Behaviour. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Social Factors affecting Consumer Behaviour. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Peters, D. (2014). 3 Ways Social Media Marketing Influences Consumer Behavior. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from 

McGraw Hills. (n.d.). Culture and Small Groups. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Razorfish. (2009). The razorfish social influence marketing report. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from

Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good , Fourth Edition Nancy R. Lee and Philip Kotler (SAGE 2011)

Small Business. (n.d.). Psychological Factors That Influence Consumer Buying Behavior. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from

Tylor, E.B. 1871. Primitive Culture, vol. 1. London: John Murray.



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