Mastering the Four Dimensions of Policy Influence
With ideological rifts and political volatility increasing, business and advocacy leaders must understand the disproportionately impactful thought leaders – “Super Influencers” – who shape policy in their sector. Leaders who master the four key dimensions of influence, as informed by Baron’s Influencer Analytics, will be better equipped to manage political risk. Influence is:
No Super Influencer is universally relevant across all policy spheres. Instead, individuals who achieve Super Influencer status almost always focus on niche topics and communities. As a result, relying solely on prominent political commentators, rather than a sector’s specific Super Influencers, is insufficient for organizations to genuinely shape and inform the policy debate.
The opinion landscape is fluid. Just five years ago, few foresaw the rise of figures from the then-nascent Hipster Antitrust community to leadership positions within antitrust enforcement agencies, such as Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan. Understanding the intellectual trends driving policy making enables government relations teams to shape opinion upstream of the policy makers whose decisions are most consequential for their industry.
A small group of individuals overwhelmingly govern the influence landscape. Baron’s study of the antitrust policy debate, for example, revealed that nearly half of the antitrust reform conversation is driven by only a handful of Super Influencers. Organizations face the challenge of determining influence: rarely do more than 30 individuals truly matter to the policy conversation.
Washington is a tribal, networked community. The most successful Super Influencers not only have built substantial issue expertise, but also ideological credibility. Consequently, the ideological nature of many Super Influencers presents a challenge for them from working with industry interests, especially as businesses are encircled by a hostile coalition of the increasingly anti-business Right and Left.
Outlook for organizations
To contend with the limited resources available to engage idea generators, business and advocacy leaders must effectively forecast, anticipate, and plan for the intellectual trends already underway and therefore likely to manifest in policy. While identifying the Super Influencers who exert true and lasting influence often eludes even the most sophisticated political strategists, Influencer Analytics’ ability to map the issue and political conversation equips organizations to advance objectives amid growing headwinds.