I am assaulted everywhere I look by political signs that tell me no more than the name of the candidate and their desired office. But as Election Day draws nearer, I was reminded of a model I used frequently in marketing that outlines the various methods to influence audiences depending upon the desired outcome of the interaction.

To create awareness, the proportion of mass media and direct messaging are the highest. Yes, those political signs have made me aware of who is running; I know the ballot by heart! But to achieve comprehension, mass media loses its significance and small group or person-to-person methods are more effective. To cultivate conviction, the proportion of personal contacts becomes even more relevant and finally, to earn commitment it must be achieved almost exclusively through person-to-person.

Even if you’re not in politics, you are most likely in the business of influencing others. This model can help you effectively align your efforts and your resources to achieve the result you seek – without putting a barrage of signs on every corner.

Source: Institutional Image: How to Define, Improve, Market it by Robert S. Topor, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, 1986.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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