The Business of Influence

The Business of Influence – Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age (on WorldCat), by Philip Sheldrake, was published by Wiley, April 2011, and reprinted 2012. It’s also available in Turkish.

From the inside cover

Media has most definitely evolved, as have the ways in which we contemplate, design, communicate and execute strategy. And rather than technological evolution, we’re plainly in the midst of a technological revolution. We have no choice then but to reframe marketing and PR in the context of 21st Century technology, 21st Century media and disintermediation, and 21st Century articulation of and appreciation for business strategy.

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The Business of Influence book cover


by Robert L. Howie, Managing Director, CMO, Palladium Group, Director, Kaplan Norton Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy.

This book will make practitioners in marketing, PR, advertising, communications, and any professional with the word digital in his title uncertain about the future of his discipline. Philip Sheldrake makes the case that the traditional boundaries of these professions must morph into a more holistic expertise, which he calls the influence professional. And while such professionals must retain their creative right-brain talents, they must become far more skilled in left-brained analytical competencies.

The convergence of markets, media, and technology raises the bar further. New business models, the proliferation of social media, the relative power shift from producers to consumers, and the overwhelming amount of structured and unstructured data make managing our businesses more challenging than ever. It seems that we increasingly know more and more about less and less. Change is constant, and accelerating.

What to do? The author proposes a creative, structured approach to the business of influence, which is to say, business itself. He identifies the interactions between stakeholders – businesses, employees, customers, competitors – and maps the primary influence flows among them. He provides a practical framework for seeing, and acting on, the drivers of value creation. He proposes an Influence Scorecard that integrates strategy, objectives, and processes in an actionable influence framework. The scorecard provides structure, focus, and a common language – across organizational boundaries – that drives desired behaviors and outcomes. It puts influence at the center of the strategy.

Strategy is how an organization intends to create value for its stakeholders consistent with its mission. Strategy is a process, and like any process, it must be managed and its efficacy measured. And while strategy is important, it’s the execution that counts. In a world where 7 out of 10 organizations fail to execute their strategies, it is not surprising that execution – that is, fulfilling the promise of creating value for stakeholders – is the number one issue that keeps executives up at night. The Kaplan Norton Balanced Scorecard has become the dominant framework successful organizations use to execute their strategies.

The author’s Influence Scorecard builds on the Kaplan Norton approach, in which success is based on universal management principles: aligning around the critical few things that matter, identifying cause-and-effect relationships that result in desired outcomes, setting measures and targets to drive behaviors, choosing initiatives that close performance gaps, and managing strategy as a process. The Influence Scorecard shares these principles with the Balanced Scorecard, and applies them to the emergent, cross-disciplinary domain of influence.

Readers will find helpful the author’s syntheses of recent research and writing in the art and science of influence – including insights into social media and Web 3.0 developments, chapter summaries, and a glossary. Whether the emerging profession of the Chief Influence Officer leads the nexus of influence as the author suggests, or another C level executive, influence – like strategy itself – is a team sport. Influence is everyone’s responsibility. This book will help you understand your contribution to that reality.

Boston, Massachusetts, February 2011.


Katie Delahaye Paine, Founder and CEO, KD Paine & Partners, author Measure What Matters:

The Business of Influence is a whack on the side of the head for traditional marketers. By focusing on influence, instead of traditional marketing think, it reframes and redefines everything that a modern marketer does.

The Business of Influence should be found, dog-eared and jam-packed with marks in the margins on every successful CMO’s desk.

Robert Phillips, President & CEO EMEA, Edelman:

Philip Sheldrake shares an important vision of the new communications world order. PR and advertising professionals need to sit up and take note.

Influence is the future watchword – and the smart companies are already exploring it and switching models.

David Meerman Scott, bestselling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR and the new hit Real-Time Marketing & PR:

Today, every organization is in the influence business. We influence customers to buy from us, employees to work for us, and the media to write about us. Gone are the days when you could be your own island. Now, to be successful, you need to live within the influence ecosystem and that requires a change of mindset. Fortunately, Philip Sheldrake will show you how.

David Alston, CMO, Radian6:

Philip Sheldrake helps us rethink the business of influence. It goes without saying that the social web has transformed the world. Business strategies need to keep pace.

Readers should embrace this book and let it challenge their beliefs about the future of marketing and business.

Barry Leggetter, Executive Director, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC):

Philip Sheldrake was a feisty, thoughtful and passionate audience participant during the AMEC session defining the Barcelona Principles in 2010. His belief that communications needs to change continues in this book, which gives conventional thinking a healthy stir.

This is a book I hope major corporations will put on the recommended reading list for their senior management.

David B. Rockland, PhD; Partner, Ketchum Communications; CEO, Ketchum Pleon Change and Ketchum Global Research; Chair, AMEC US Agency Research Leaders Group:

The Business of Influence is an excellent guide to understanding how to develop and drive a management agenda through marketing and communications in the increasingly complex age of social media and digital technology.

It is a handy and useful guidebook for every practitioner from the newly minted account leader in an agency to the seasoned professional or academic in this field.

Mark Borkowski, Founder and MD, Borkowski:

Philip has touched a nerve with The Business of Influence. It’s a highly detailed, authoritative examination on the business of influence, a book of the now.

Many unkind observers of the current state of PR suggest it has entered a new age of snake oil sales folk. Sheldrake’s book proves that there is a higher level of thought. It structures a practical study of material which I am sure will prove to be invaluable insight.

Vanessa DiMauro, CEO Leader Networks:

The Business of Influence is an essential read for communications professionals seeking to keep pace with the new realities of social business.

Philip Sheldrake powerfully deconstructs old business paradigms about business marketing and communications in order to align it with the realities of social business so we, as an industry, can rebuild with greater success. It can help the influence professional directly impact the bottom line in this new social media driven world.

David Phillips, FIPR, FSNCR, co-author of Online Public Relations: A Practical Guide to Developing an Online Strategy in the World of Social Media:

Philip Sheldrake stalks the world of PR in which digital mediation is taken as a given.

The nature of a web of communication is complicated and with Philip’s help, we are beginning to understand how information flows through it.

Professor Anne Gregory PhD, Director, Centre for Public Relations Studies, Leeds Beckett University; author Public Relations in Practice:

Philip Sheldrake gets it. Public Relations and Marketing have always been about influence and his Six Influence Flows and the Influence Scorecard are a real step forward in making sense and evaluating these activities in the digital age.

Marshall Sponder, The Web Analytics Guru, author Social Media Analytics:

Yesterday’s approaches to influence do not work in today’s world. In The Business of Influence, Philip Sheldrake nails the fundamental problem in the 21st Century – our methods are rooted in the 20th Century.

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