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Revealed: How to Reach the Top Rung of Credibility, Power & Influence

Jun 20, 2008
It is no secret that we live in the age of information overload. No matter where we look, eat, sleep or breathe, we are bombarded with information. The problem is that our potential clients are too. So how do we cut through the clutter?

For starters, we have to build credibility with our audience and get them to begin looking for our messages, because they know that what we say has value. How do we do that? Let me show you.

Let's take a look at a simple principle that I call the Ladder of Credibility, Power & Influence.

At the bottom of the ladder you have the Generalist.

The Generalist is anyone who has a general knowledge about the subject matter at hand. You can lump many people into this category, because a generalist is anyone with a working knowledge of the subject who has no specialized niche.

On the first rung of the ladder, there is the Expert.

The Expert specializes in and should ideally know everything about a narrow field. In our society, we value the opinion of the expert more than that of the generalist. If you don't believe me, imagine that you have a brain tumor. Who would you call first: your family practice doctor or a brain specialist? That's what I thought.

Towering above the Generalist and the Specialist, the Celebrity is at the second rung of the ladder.

I know it sounds a bit absurd, but studies show that in a marketing message, consumers will value what a celebrity has to say over pretty much any expert you can put in front of them. One example is the long-running infomercial for the acne medication, ProActiv(R), which is a product of Guthy-Renker, one of the most successful direct marketing companies in the world. They pay celebrities, including Jessica Simpson, Sean P. Diddy Combs, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Vanessa Williams and Serena Williams, to convince consumers that their product is the right solution to fight acne. They could afford any physician in the world for the amount that they have to pay these celebrities, but the celebrities outperform the experts all day long.

Last but not least, the Holy Grail top rung on the ladder of Credibility, Power & Influence is the Celebrity Expert.

Not many celebrities ever rise to the status of Celebrity Expert, but you can bet that when they do, their marketing planner is full! In order to reach this status, the celebrity has to find a way to communicate their knowledge of a subject to consumers. This can be done in many ways: by writing a book, sharing their knowledge with another celebrity like Larry King, or posting blogs on their website.

There are many ways to do this; the point is that to reach this status, the celebrity has to do more than just be good at their chosen profession, e.g. acting, music, sports. Consumers value a celebrity expert over all other categories of people who deliver marketing messages. Some great examples of Celebrity Experts are Rachael Ray (Cooking), Martha Stewart (Domesticity), Donald Trump (Real Estate), Oprah (Self-Help), Robert Allen (Real Estate), Jay Abraham (Marketing), Dan Kennedy (Marketing), and there are many more. If you don't know who all of these Celebrity Experts are, that's ok! To their chosen niche, they are celebrities and experts on their subject matter.

The point here is that most people's preconceived notions about who consumers listen to are wrong. If you are willing to put in a lot of time and effort, you too can reach Celebrity Expert status and turn your prospects into raving fans.
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