Inbound links tell a story. But they don’t tell your brand story.

Brand value is more than a series of data points. Your brand value is equal to your level of influence. But is influence quantifiable?

Real influence is illustrated in the following scenarios

  • The boardroom is in disarray with dozens of voices and opinions flying. The CEO stands up to speak and a hush descends upon the room.
  • A local meetup announces that a celebrity will be in attendance and registration numbers triple.
  • A blogger boasts tens thousands of readers, thousands of RSS subcribers and engaging comment threads.

In all of the above situations, influence has the following criteria in common:

  1. They have earned an voice with an audience. (I don’t know that there is a 2)

But where does this influence come from? How did these influencers earn their stature?

They earned their influence in many ways.

  • They may have participated in other conversations.
  • They may be iconic sports personalities.
  • They may have a corporate reputation that precedes their current action.


In most cases, influence is not achieved based on a single point of interaction, but as an aggregate of multiple interactions across multiple individuals. Influence as an aggregate score (across your entire audience) must take into account multiple historical considerations, most of which are untraceable. And even when you can trace influence in the digital realm via links, not all links are created equally. Some links are featured, some are appended as related articles. Some links are inspirational, some are negative in their nature.

Your brand is not a metric. Your influence is not a metric.

Do not lose sleep over your technorati ranking. Focus on your relevance and your value, not on your influence metric. Even the best influence metrics are directional at best. Your value is defined by what you do, not a number on a page.


Jon Burg is a Senior Emerging Channels Strategist with Digitas, a leading global interactive agency network. Jon blogs about the evolution of marketing, media and technology and the resultant impact on the human experience at Future Visions.