I was delighted to host the first meeting of the Influence Scorecard initiative in New York this week with a fine group of people:

The task at hand is wide and deep, but we cracked on regardless. For those of you unaware of the Influence Scorecard project, you may want to flick through the presentation at the end of this post, or perhaps read my last post on the matter.

One of our first tasks was to get some definitions agreed. For example:

  • Influence: the power or ability to affect someone's beliefs or actions
  • Engagement: some action (anything but nothing)
  • Advocacy: engagement driven by an agenda
  • Sentiment: expression of opinion
  • Transparency: the default to disclose and the disclosure of any reasons not to do so
  • Authentic: not false, genuine, real
  • Trust: competence, integrity, reliability and authenticity

For the more academically minded of you, we then resorted to Grunig & Hunt models and Grunig's Relationship index to pin down an expanded definition of influence and engagement to guide the construction of measures for relative or absolute assessment.

Here goes...


Influence can be represented as the reach (a quantity) for a specific relevance (topic, demographic, value, etc) with a level of credibility (measured historically / retrospectively).

A score / ranking / measure of POTENTIAL influence is composed of:

  • Reach: number of people that a person can reach; also the amplification that comes from the network connections of those people
  • Relevance: the domain in which those people that can be reached are influenced (defined by topic, values, demographics)
  • Credibility: the trustworthiness of the source.


Engagement is a measure of activity (a quantity and varied by type of activity) at a level of intensity (subjective level of passion).

It's a measure of the degree of involvement that a person has with an issue, brand, person, etc., composed of:

  • Volume of actions / interactions
  • The qualitative judgement of the level of passion (emotion?) expressed in those interactions.

Engagement may require differently defined measures depending upon each of Forresters five categories of engagement: creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectator.

Measurement heuristics

The team also agreed some useful common sense rules governing our approach to measurement:

  • Just because you can measure something doesn't mean you should / that it's useful
  • As people behave as they are measured, the measure or more likely group of measures should frustrate any individual's tempation for "gaming it" (ie, their focusing on getting good scores rather than on the activity to get good scores)
  • Beware compound measures; algorithms must be transparent.

On that last point, check out Don Bartholomew's (MetricsMan) excellent post debunking much of the Twitter measurement crap.

Other stuff and next steps

We covered a whole lot more, but nowhere near as much as there is stuff to do. This is a journey rather than a destination per se. We've each taken actions, and mine is to diagrammatically represent the entire objectives and machinations of the Influence Scorecard to portray where we're heading and to mark off progress.

(For a lengthier description of the workshop, head over to Marshall's post.)

If you'd like to join in, please get in touch (@sheldrake). We're meeting again early 2010, and looking for participants to get stuck in on both academic and practical fronts. As an example of the latter, we have already identified some blue chip CMOs willing to try our stuff for real next year, perhaps you are another?

The slideshare overview