Whilst attending the Linkdex “Think tank” two weeks ago, the words of one Bas van den Beld stayed with me. Well, not all his words, he used a lot of them, but they were based around the power of the influencers.

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The particular example was based on the wizarding world of Harry Potter and the hugely successful marketing campaign which surrounded it. Without plunging into the example at length, the “moral” of the tale was that 7 carefully picked Harry Potter fans (influencers) approached in the right way, at the right time could be more effective than jumping through the usual press hoops when creating buzz was concerned.

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This particular story resonated with me for two reasons; firstly, my postgraduate dissertation was an audience research paper investigating elements of Harry Potter fandom, and secondly, it showcased the massive power of grass roots movements over the usual PR circus.

This is an extreme example, from my personal experience of polling and interviewing Harry Potter fans, I can safely say that there are very few groups of people who have the same passion and power to shout louder than many a big-named-brand. Also, the Harry Potter brand itself is one of the biggest entities we’ve seen, so the potential for marketing success is hardly questionable.

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But that’s why I like this example, it’s why I’ve used it with clients, friends family and quite possibly a stranger or two since I heard Bas recount it. The scope and scale of what those 7 uber-fans managed to achieve and the tenacity and balls of the marketing team who decided to throw out the rule book and try something different is inspiring and if it can inspire someone else to try things differently; to treat outreach as a personal exercise, rather than a cynical and lazy one, it was worth the breath it took to tell the tale, right?

But we don’t all have the luxury of a huge brand, a theme park and millions of adoring fans, it can’t be that easy. True, it won’t be that easy, but I doesn’t mean that the ideas which underpin the story can’t be applied in some way.

Reach out to someone, offer them something more than a vanilla piece of content, make the connection that could lead to more than just a link in the long term. Build that relationship.

Finally, I said that I owed Bas a link in return for that example;

http://basvandenbeld.com

It’s not much, but I always pay my (link) debts!

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Chris is interested by all things interesting and will write about almost anything (interest not required - but it helps!). Head of Marketing Innovation at Footprint Digital by day and father of two by night.