A ‘message-force multiplier’ is a fancy way of describing a person who is highly influential, especially within the media. They have been employed by the Department of Defense, which has practically embedded these influentials to get a certain narrative across.
It is shocking to think that this happens in the normal course of the news media, but it isn’t. Like product placement, the branding tactic to get favorable impressions through a medium, this happens all the time.
Let’s sidestep the political and ethical implications of this for a moment and see what we could learn from this. Who are your message-force multipliers? Could they be already ’embedded’ and ready that all we need to do is empower them, without having to resort to cloak-and-dagger tactics?
Networked audience. At the university where I work, students, not Communicators, are the real voices. They are highly networked in both analog and digital realms. Their channels (dorm room discussions, text messaging, study groups etc) carry our brand personality further and faster than any advertisement or press release; they ‘multiply’ the impact of the message.
Motivated audience. Not everyone who’s connected and networked is highly motivated. Walmart has a group of Mommy Bloggers who are passionate about the brand. These ElevenMoms, have their own ‘beats’ as it were –frugal living, product reviews etc. One is “a suburban subversive, plotting to reinvent the way we stay-at-home-moms think about keeping up with the Joneses.” Customers who ‘plot’ on your behalf? That’s worth a lot.
Peer-to-Peer. Dell’s Digital Nomads group (see my comments earlier) is an amazing place where the brand is very low profile, and the members basically help each other. It’s not just a web site. Members reach out to each other via a Facebook group, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a YouTube channel.