The effectiveness of opinion leaders

I was having lunch with my family on Easter Sunday (Happy belated Easter by the way) when one of my younger family members in her teens asked me out of the blue “What do you think about the President’s plan to drill offshore?” This family member had never taken any interests in politics before and now she was asking me to chime in on one of the region’s most controversial issues. I had no idea that I would have to issue a statement over appetizers to the youngest person at the table.

She had found out about the President’s plan through her surfing buddies on the coast. She didn’t have any details but still… I was wondering about the scores of surfers throughout the state who were all of the sudden brought to the table on an issue that effected them because of the powerful opinion leaders in their sport asked them to get involved. These opinion leaders got teens, tweens, and young adults to lobby their parents to get involved on a very important issue in Tallahassee. The parents out there know that there is no stronger call to action than making their children happy. It would not surprise me if big oil hired Miley Cyrus to run ads from an oil rig on prime time TV.

Celebrity spokespeople are nothing new. Voters knew that when they were getting robo-calls from sitcom stars and athletes during elections but we often forget that the right face for your cause can make the difference over whose side the community takes on an issue.

They don’t have to be national celebrities; the local opinion leaders who have earned the trust of the people can be very powerful. Local radio or TV personalities wield a lot of power in politics, and the thousands of viewers and listeners in the greater Orlando area might re-think their positions when they find that the voice on the radio during the ride to work or that familiar face on the television before bed disagrees with them.

If this trend keeps up I might have to don a Spiderman costume when appearing with my clients.

Special thanks to The Next Great Fighter who put on a great event at Lyman High School Saturday night. Muay Thai Kickboxing at it’s finest. Thanks guys!