Book Review—Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter Most

This book review on Savvy-Writer about Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most by Kelly Keenan was made possible by IdeaPress Publishing and LaunchTeam and Amplify pr.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to build a brand and influencer marketing to grow your company’s awareness, engagement, customer loyalty, and revenue.

If you’re an entrepreneur or are a marketing director, marketing manager, or VP of marketing, you’re probably familiar with influencer marketing. Heck, you may have even had some success with working with influencers. However, it may have been short-lived or perhaps, not what you expected. If it was the latter, ask yourself this question: “How strong is your brand or company’s story?”

Let’s face it.

No amount of money your throw at influencer marketing will help if your brand or company doesn’t have a great story that will attract customers and potential influencers.

In his book, Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most, Kelly Keenan shows you the importance of figuring out and knowing your brand or company’s story and why you should celebrate it. Putting everything together can draw outside influencers and inside influencers (employees) to your business.

Let’s explore Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most.

Engage People Who Matter and Ignore Those Who Don’t

Ask yourself this question: “Am I interested in learning how to bring more happiness, stability, and success to your company?” If you’ve answered yes, then Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most is for you. Throughout the pages, you’ll learn about:

  • The opportunity to celebrate your story
  • The process of Culture Development Marketing (CDM)
  • What brands are (and what they are not)
  • Who is an influencer (and who is not)
  • How to create a story-driven culture full of energy, appreciation, and success
  • Why the single biggest opportunity in business today is realizing that everyone is an influence

According to Kelly Keenan, “influencers are not the solution—they are the result.”

This may seem counterintuitive.

But think about it.

It’s crucial to build trusted relationships by establishing a culture that celebrates a shared vision and values. If you do this, you’ll start winning.

And, the truest influencer is earned through interaction, involvement, and participation.

Sure, you could hire influencers and pay them a couple hundred dollars or more. But how authentic is that?

Being open to a different perspective can be used personally and professionally and help you become a strong leader, team member, coach, or parent.

In the pages of Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most, you’ll “understand the unique power of celebrating your brand or company’s story and how your celebration is amplified through the passionate participation of true influencers. You’ll learn why these are the people who really matter and why you should be ignoring those who don’t.”

Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most will help you gain clarity, empower your organization, and set your brand on a path to continual growth and success. Hopefully, you’re ready for it!

The Story Sharing Shift

According to Kelly, “Brands and companies need to acknowledge, understand, and pursue influencers. However, the story has to be right, and the influencer relationship has to be believable.”

Remember that an influencer only matters and makes sense if they can be attached to or engaged with your brand or company’s story in a real and relatable way. Otherwise, your customers will see and feel the inauthenticity and may buy from your competitor. And they may call you out on social media.

Kelly says, “The best influencer relationships are built on integration, alignment, and shared values. Brands need to look beyond the number of followers an influencer has and consider their authenticity before anything else.”

Regarding the number of followers an influencer has. Social media networks can change metrics such as likes, dislikes, and followers. In fact, YouTube wants to do away with the ‘dislike’ count. Instead of focusing on the numbers, you could evaluate an influencer’s engagement, from comments to shares, and of course, if the influencer has an open dialogue with their followers.

Kelly points out that everyone can step up and become an influencer, impacting a brand’s story and creating change. Remember that an influencer may positively or negatively impact, so ensure that you and your team can handle the attention.

Telling Vs. Celebrating

Kelly states, “Every brand story is different, and that’s a good thing. Brands have the freedom to develop and execute their own unique strategy for celebration.”

He provides two examples of this with Hiut Denim and VW. For this review, I’ll focus on Hiut.

Hiut Denim

Here’s an excerpt from the book.

Ten percent of the population of Cardigan, Wales lost their jobs because the country’s largest jean factory outsourced the local denim production to Morocco. But luckily, apparel veterans David and Clare Hiatt saw an opportunity to rehire the 400 team members who are the world’s most talented jeans makers. They began celebrating the story, showing how commitment, passion, and skill of their team. David and Clare focused on illustrating the uniqueness of their artistic, handmade process. And they proudly promoted their results by showcasing the world’s best jeans.

The story not only appealed to consumers but it built participation and pride. The team members have become influencers. Showcased via social media networks and its company’s website, team members even sign the jeans they create. Of course, the most significant influence came from the former Duchess Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s visit to Cardigan, Wales. She wore a pair of Hiut Denim Company’s black jeans, and people took notice. This shouldn’t be a shock because whenever a celebrity, royal, sports star, etc., wears this or that, a brand’s stock of (fill in the blank) usually sells out, and backorders ensue. And, of course, website and social visits and engagement increase.

Kelly states that Markle’s influence wasn’t the reason Hiut Denim exploded. I raised an eyebrow at this. Yes, Hiut Denim has a great story, true quality, and spectacular product. And it may be true that Hiut’s influence was ready to “blow up,” as Kelly puts it. You can’t deny the impact Markle has had on brands and causes, some of which no one in the States has even heard of before her visit. But what’s the possibility that Hiut would have experienced the same level of influence without the former Duchess having worn a pair of their jeans?

Celebrating Your Brand

According to Kelly, “Executing a story strategy that celebrates who you are isn’t easy. Challenges and choices will complicate the process. Also, a brand celebration needs people who are interested, excited, and integrated with your brand.”

Kelly also states that “celebrating your brand requires that you get clarity, tell the truth, learn what your inclinations are, and then learn where your community picks up on that. Then you reinforce the best parts internally.”

Finally, you’ll want to find and elevate the real things that matter to attract influencers and customers interested in your brand and company. And, of course, you’ll want to get excited! Remember, if you’re not enthusiastic about your story, why should anyone else be?

Culture Development Marketing (CDM)

Kelly’s Culture Development Marketing (CDM) “celebrates your brand story through ongoing conversations, engagements, and experiences in a way that inspires participation, solidifies your culture, and builds long-term relationships.”

Culture Development Marketing (CDM) works by following these simple steps:

  • Perform an impression analysis to uncover your brand’s most inspiring aspects.
  • Clarify and connect the ideas through a brand story summary.
  • Forge and execute the plan to celebrate the story with your team, customers, and community.

Once a plan is in place, you’ll want to ensure that the storylines remain relevant and that the story is still in order. You’ll add and remove storylines, characters, and ideas as the needs of your company and community evolve.

The Elements That Make a Trustworthy Brand

It shouldn’t be a shock that your brand needs to be trustworthy. Otherwise, the public will shout it from the rooftops that it’s not. On the other hand, if you have a unique brand (Kelly uses Tesla as an example), your customers will tell others about your brand, why they like it, and so on.

Kelly says that there are three ways your story can validate trust:

  • Emotional validation—Emotional people want to feel good about the brands they buy from.
  • Operational validation—Operational people ask, “How will that (product or service) work?”
  • Empirical validation—Empirical people can smell B.S. a mile away and want the facts.

Attitude, drive, and direction can build trust in your brand story and create connection points to allow your brand to grow and develop.

Remember, a brand celebration requires people who are actually interested, excited, and integrated with your brand. You’ll want to “identify things that matter and make a plan to elevate them in a way that allows you to attract similar people who are also interested in them.”

The 3-P Principle®: Positive, Powerful, and Purposeful

How can you transform the narrative of your brand?

According to Kelly, you “combine a clearly defined Attitude, Drive, and Direction.”

He points out that “your Attitude shifts Positive, your Drive becomes Powerful, and your Direction becomes Purposeful.” Kelly refers to this as the 3-P Principle®. It creates a story that increases education, elevates understanding, and builds trust on every level.

Kelly’s 3-P Principle® sets up the creation of a story that builds trust on all levels. However, “all levels” never means “all people.” This means that your brand’s message will not resonate with everyone. If you focus on similar people, you’ll gain support and the results you’ll love.”

Building a Foundation That Multiplies Your Efforts

Culture Development Marketing (CDM) helps you understand who you are and how your company is perceived by isolating how you deliver value. Above all, building a solid foundation starts with removing the clutter and disconnected vision so that you can reveal a clear and concise story.

The goal of Kelly’s CDM is to give brands and companies clarity. He does this through the R.A.C.E. mechanism, which is short for Reveal, Assess, Combine, and Elevate. Kelly outlines the steps, starting with mapping perception patterns and understanding how impressions are being earned. Remember, every little detail matters.

By using Culture Development Marketing, you’ll discover your brand’s story, working the information down from its broadest perspective to its tightest definition.

In the past, you may have heard someone say, “Run your race” or “Stay in your own lane.” Kelly emphasizes this too. It’s essential to focus on running your race that lines up with your talents and abilities. Why? Because it will allow you to do more, be more, and go further.

Keep in mind that “you can’t blend in and still win.”

If you’re a marketing leader, it’s up to you  the work to get to the “heart” of your brand’s story is up to you.

Creating a Framework for Celebration

Consider the following questions:

  • What is your brand story?
  • How have you used brand storytelling in the past? Or haven’t you?
  • What is or has been your content plan and strategy?
  • Which social media channels do you use, and how often?
  • How much time do you put into building brand awareness?
  • What great brand stories do you admire?
  • What are the best brand stories, and what can you learn from them?

Take some time to think about the questions above and answer them honestly. The information you uncover may show you that your brand or company’s story may not be as strong as you think. You may discover that you have more to celebrate.

According to Kelly, “Your brand story title should work in combination with a brand story summary and storylines to organize roles, clarify what is being celebrated, and get the people who matter the most involved in the process.”

Some examples of brand titles Kelly shares are ones you’re probably familiar with, such as “Don’t leave home without it,” from American Express. Don’t worry whether or not your brand title needs punctuation. Brainstorm for ideas. And think about how “subset ideas break your brand’s story into manageable content initiatives.”

Remember, a powerful storyline stands out by “expanding your reach, gaining enthusiasm, and building excitement.”

Also, keep in mind that your brand will evolve, and so will your story. After all, if you stay the same, you’re not growing.

Once you have your brand title and story, set clear expectations for your celebration.

All in to Win

Kelly writes that “anyone can compete with products and services for a price. The true differentiation is the experience your brand delivers through its people. Ultimately, your brand is only as strong as the harmony that exists between the story you tell and the way it is being lived.”

“Generating support and enthusiasm for your brand story is a process based on the idea of relationship advancement, one step at a time.” Most importantly, avoid “analysis paralysis” and go all in.

If you want to win, you’ll need to commit to uncovering your brand story or tweaking it. However, even with commitment, you may not win every time. And when leadership doesn’t commit, it won’t spread throughout the organization. However, stories and success can happen when leadership commits.

Final Thoughts on Everyone is an “Influencer”

Everyone can be an influencer if that’s what they want.

But keep in mind that some employees aren’t comfortable with being front and center, so don’t force them to be an influencer for your brand or company. If you do, their inauthenticity will show, and your customers will pick up on that energy.

Overall, I found Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most to be informative and filled with great information on building your company brand and discovering and telling its story. However, since I’ve been a digital marketer for over ten years and have worked with PR agencies and helped clients with their PR, the material was familiar.

If you’re starting your brand or company or work for one experiencing change and needs an overhaul, consider getting a copy of Everyone is an “Influencer”: Building a Brand by Engaging the People Who Matter the Most. Kelly’s process of Culture Development Marketing (CDM), R.A.C.E., and other techniques can help you build a brand story that reaches the people who matter the most. Your brand or company may take off sooner than you thought possible.