Defining Power In 2021: Has Influence Become Bigger Than Wealth?

Written by
Text Link

Defining Power In 2021: Has Influence Become Bigger Than Wealth?

Al Ramich
Al Ramich

Defining Power In 2021: Has Influence Become Bigger Than Wealth?

The definition of power has changed, and so should the way you operate in order to gain it.

But before you recoil at the idea of wielding power and all the negative connotations that it carries (think fictional evil super villains and real-life dictators and governments), let me take a moment to remind you that power isn’t always a bad thing.

Because just as you’ll read in every comic book and fairy tale, power can be a force for good, if it's used in the right way — think philanthropy, charity and medical and technological advances that genuinely have the power to change the world for the better.

What Does Power Mean Today?

In short, it means something very different than what it did a decade ago. Rich lists have been eclipsed by influencers, and the power of the internet means followers and revenue can be won or lost in the time it takes to type a single misguided tweet.

My company has conducted research on who wields power today, and with that research, we've created an index ranking the world's most influential people. Because, as the experts will tell you, technology, influence and power are now more intrinsically linked than ever.

As Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla Foundation and co-founder of Commons Group, told the Pew Research Center, “Right now, the big U.S. tech companies basically write the rules of the road. If governments and citizens can take back some of that power and build up the talent and vision to create civic innovation, we’ll see the kind of social innovation we need."

Shane Kerr, lead engineer for NS1 internet domain security, contributed to the same study carried out by Pew. He said, “As wealth and power consolidates, traditional options to achieve success in society decline. ... With modern technology, it may be possible that large minorities or even majorities of society will be able to ‘opt out’ of competition for power and prestige, and instead find alternative ways to measure success and the quality of their lives.”

That study concluded that technology, money and power are inexorably intertwined — and becoming ever more so.

So Which Gives You More Power And Influence: Money Or Followers?

We think power can be seen as:

• Wealth. Money has always equated to power in various guises, and that hasn’t changed. But its grasp on — and relationship with — influence absolutely has. Exposure is no longer the preserve of the rich — you can go viral (and therefore have influence) with no backing, no funds and no status. Technology has inverted the traditional relationship between money and power.

• Influence. It’s not only politicians and tycoons who have influence these days. People with followers, impressions, likes and reach have come to the fore in a big way and probably aren’t going anywhere soon.

• Power. What we refer to as "real-world" power translates to mean the way companies in Silicon Valley, for example, have the power to change how you go about your day, what you see and potentially even how you think.

How To Boost Your Brand Based On These Three Metrics

With all this in mind, how can you change your approach to make sure you’re ahead of the power curve and being seen and heard by the right people at the right time?

Here are five ways to do exactly that:

1. Hone your target audience. Whom are you marketing to? If your answer is everyone, you may be doing it wrong. You likely have an ideal client who is part of a specific demographic. The more specific you can be, the more your ideal clients will feel like you’re talking directly to them, and the more of them you’ll attract.

2. Establish your authority. This, controversially, has nothing to do with qualifications. Unless your clients are also in your field, your qualifications probably have very little meaning to them. What they do want to know about is real people who’ve used your company and had a fantastic experience — that’s the power of the testimonial, and the more the merrier.

3. Find the right voice. Armed with the demographics of your ideal target audience, think about language. That means the language they feel comfortable and familiar with and the language they would use, but also the language and tone they want to hear from you — a lawyer will adopt a very different tone than a gym, despite both wanting to appeal to the same people. Once you’ve found your voice, be consistent — on your website and in every email, text, letter and phone conversation. The more consistent you are, the safer your clients will feel in your hands.

4. Use appropriate platforms and media. The people you want to appeal to will use particular platforms at certain times of the day, week and month — be that LinkedIn, Facebook or particular websites and magazines. Be seen in the right places. Above and beyond this, though, a book is a great way to establish your authority and position you as a respected expert in your field.

5. Use your network. Harnessing other people’s influence in order to bolster your own is a well-trodden path, but it’s that way for a reason. Consider working with people with power and influence in your field who are already reaching the people you want to get in touch with and be seen by. Consider the people you admire and the people you are already aware of through their social channels — your industry’s celebrities and influencers.

Get Started

The time to change the impact you have on the world is today. Think about whom you want to be speaking to, where the best place is to speak to them and how they want to be spoken to.

You have the power to change how you’re perceived, which in turn could have a huge impact on the performance of your business. Take a step back and look at your strategy, then make a few simple changes and take 10 steps forward.

(Article featured in Forbes.com on Oct 1, 2021)

Al Ramich
CEO at SmallGiants.Agency and Loomi.AI