Sometimes people ask me what do you do? And I automatically respond: I am in advertising. That’s easy for people to grasp. But we all know that it is not true. That it shouldn’t be true. We should all respond: I am in the influence business. But that sounds not very family-birthday-talk-friendly does it? But let’s not beat around the bush, we are amongst ourselves here, we all should be fascinated about influence.

We all should be fascinated about influence

We should be intrigued by how we can influence people to interact with us, to be interested in us, to be longing for us. Does it sound too much evil puppeteer to you? Well, forget it. Digital kind of levelled that out. People know. People share. People are in the driver’s seat. But are they in control?

If you are in the influence business – like I am – you should have the same fascination as me. Finding out how digital has changed how we as brands can influence people. It’s directly related to the question how brand building in the digital era works. And I’ll let you in on a secret – digital has not put us in a corner as brands – it has opened completely new opportunities. We can actually truly influence behaviour for a change.

Digital has not put us in a corner as brands – it has opened completely new opportunities

But – and a wise man once said that only what comes after but counts – we have to realise that digital drives conversion through sharing. Sharing cannot be forced. Sharing has to be earned. Sharing asks for different strategy, creative and tactics.

If I can give you one advice: marry a geek. Geeks are crucial in the new creative. They start by thinking about outcome. And OK, have a lasting affair with a storyteller too. You need some excitement.