Power, influence and empowerment
Marketing has given us new insights into what power and influence are, and the explosion of marketing in recent decades has driven business to new heights. Marketing is about influence, but previous analysis suggested that marketing was more about power than is now currently thought. Marketing uses many influential things to increase company profitability, including appeal, branding, manipulation, sex, and emotional and social pressure. These things are influential upon the impressionable mind, and while it is not always associated with power, influence still assumes some forms of power, such as coercion, authority, notoriety and global reach (French, Raven. 1959).
Knowing this, we can state that influence is persuasive power, with the persuasive element appealing to the people's reasoning. Influence should be used to achieve positive goals, and over exploit the position of power with coercion. Influence, and the power of persuasion that it has, can come in many forms in the modern age, and it is the control that this had over our liberties that needs to be monitored. Using the power of control, wishes and hopes can be fulfilled or denied, but power by liberty can gain influence by the people’s knowledge that their freedom is preserved. Consumers are aware of the difference, and will respond far more positively, and be more readily influenced, by the power obtained by nurturing liberty, and not through control. This is known as empowerment.
Steve Ewing describes empowerment very well, stating that it is the means for responsible initiative (Simmerman, 1996). However, empowerment is not immune to control, and the extent of this control will be the next chapter of investigation.
French, J. R., & Raven, B. H. (1959). The bases of social power. In B. Cartwright. (Ed.), Studies in Social Power. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.
Simmerman, Dr Scott J. 1996. Its not just semantics. http://world.std.com/~lo/96.04/0150.html