Having launched TheInfluencers.ca, it be-hooves us to provide marketers and prospective community members with a description of what we're exactly looking for when we try to recruit these special Influencers (typically less than 10% of the population) into our community.
Our criteria makes for a nearly very clever acronym ACTIVES_P -adapted heavily from great pioneering work done by Emanuel Rosen.
Here are the 8 Influential Traits we Look for:
Ahead in Adoption - are you the first to learn about or try new products? can you predict upcoming changes in innovation or fashion? do you start trends? do you enjoy being noticed for risky or new purchases? when you make a purchase decisions, you consider possibilities over pragmatics? People that are first in line influence people who are in the middle of the line.
Connected to a Lot of People - do you enjoy being the centre of attention in your social circle? are you connected to many associations and affiliations? do you enjoy meeting new people? making new friends? do you have a habit of staying in touch with people? do you know people on a first name basis from a wide variety of professions? Take a really interesting Connector test from Gladwell here (be aware it could take 20 minutes) In today's marketplace- it's not what you know, it's who you know.
Travel a Lot/Lead Active Lifestyles - you've vacationed outside North America in the last 12 months? do you love to explore new places? have you experienced a major life event in the last 12 months? do you often exercise, play sports or participate in hobbies? do you find your job interesting? are you always on the go and pack a lot activities in an average day? Experience breeds influence.
Information Hungry - you like to stay informed and keep up on current trends? you've attended classes recently on subjects of personal interest? do you read a lot of magazines or blogs? do you consult websites for opinions on products or services? do you often read labels on products? A curious and info-seeking mind is a credible resource.
Vocal/Have Opinions - you've called or emailed a corporation, media firm or politician in the last 3 months? you're not shy about expressing my opinion and enjoy a good debate? in a typical day, you engage in a lot of social conversations (+40)? do you consider yourself articulate? do you find you're always at the centre of a discussion? do you have a wide range of expressions when you talk? Advocates stand up for things, oftentimes when they are not in the majority.
Exposed to a Wide Variety of Topics - do you have expertise/knowledge in a wide variety of areas? are you always looking for new and different things to do? do you frequently spend time entertaining inside or outside of home? do you agree with the motto "I'll try anything once"? do you like to pursue novel experiences vs. repeating the same ones? do you participate in a wide variety of groups and organizations? Influence is as much about being wide as it is deep.
Sway Over Friends - do you consider yourself an opinion leader within your social group? do people like and respect you? do people frequently ask you for advice? do you like to take responsibility? do you smile and laugh a lot? are you good at convincing skeptics to my point of view? do people consider you "the glue that holds groups together"? Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he/she wants to do it
Passion for a Category/Product - do you frequently follow topics that you're extremely interested in? do you consider yourself in the top 1% of informed people about certain subjects? do you find it easy to get excited about specific topics of interest? do you love talking about things I have just discovered, tried or bought? do you actively write about subjects you're passionate about? do you currently belong to a community of brand users? do you consider the purchase of certain brands a strong cue to people's personalities? Passion is the genesis of genius.
The last one - Passion - is an important addition often missed by others. A great Influencer on cars could be a horrible influencer for fashion, great on food and drink might still mean poor level of influence on health. Although there are general Influential traits, we found it important enough to add the P and destroy an otherwise cleaner acronym. In fact, when I set up my business Agent Wildfire in 2004, I received some very perceptive and personal feedback from Malcolm Gladwell of The Tipping Point fame about this point. It's also the reason that when you sign up as an Influencer, we do a pretty exhaustive job profiling your interests upfront to discover your passions.
So if you tested well above and think you might be a trendsetter, tastemaker, social ringleader and/or word of mouth opinion leader, you're Canadian and over 14, we want you in our opinion leader community - The Influencers. Spread the word.