Direct Impact: A new role for research in managing influence

Bob Cook
Firefish Innovation and Inspiration


The marketing community remains energised by the burgeoning potential of social media. The unprecedented level of interconnection of people as a result of the mobilisation and socialisation of the internet, has really magnified the power that word of mouth advocacy can have on the fortunes of products and brands. While the recommendation of trusted friends and peers has long been understood as a potent influencer of opinion and behaviour, the current situation provides new opportunities for brands to communicate with people and an exciting new role for market research practitioners.

This paper explores the realities of the current media paradigm and what constitutes effective peer advocacy and influence in 2011. From this basis it will then highlight how the planning and execution of the research process itself can generate content that can have a positive effect for a brand – not only as a basis for uncovering new analysed insight, but also used directly to influence people's perceptions, experiences and intentions. In this respect, in an age of austerity, research can use both its primary and secondary materials for the benefit of the client – nothing is wasted!