Friday, March 12, 2010

The growing influence of individual-to-individual (i2i)

While Web 2.0 continues to confirm its establishment, individual-to-individual (i2i) communication gains momentum with becoming one of the most valuable influencers in the consumer’s decision process (i.e. problem recognition; information search; alternative evaluation; purchase decision; purchase; post-purchase behavior).

Perceptive businesses have harnessed the influence of the individual to positively impact brand loyalty and brand reputation. These companies understand that the game is no longer just Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and to that end, have invested the resources to identify and engage the individual influencers that motivate target audiences.

Inattentive businesses have neglected that i2i has become an important part of the cognitive process for selection between various alternatives. Many are suffering from a non-participative risk and losing years of costly earned brand loyalty to individuals that may or may not have an association with the corporation. Others have established a presence but haven’t taken the time to understand how to leverage these channels. These companies are missing opportunities everyday to engage with the influencers and reinforce the brand’s position.

As a global society we are shifting away from an environment in which businesses have an uncontested authority. Furthermore, the new media arena has changed the dynamics of many industries, inviting an overwhelming variety of options for retail and business consumers. As a result, the influence of trusted i2i communications is becoming a vital component in the search for solutions.

The savvy business owner will ensure that the integrated marketing approach no longer only focus on maximizing the business impact on the consumer mind but will additionally support the requirement to personally engage the individual. Resources within the company will need to be allocated to ensure that you are leveraging every opportunity to communicate clearly and consistently to these valuable influencers. Understanding the i2i relationship is a critical component to having a successful brand in a world of 24/7 information availability.

Leverage the opportunity to engage with the new influencer (the individual):
- Join the platform that your target audience chooses to communicate
- Show up, engage, strengthen a relationship, and build trust
- Listen with empathy, not to push your own agenda. Opportunities will follow.

To learn how to better engage with individuals or more about i2i communications in the new media you can contact Nick Giacopelli ( at Digital Brand Expressions (


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