Influence is a brands most powerful asset. Forget Attention economy. We’re now living in the Influence Economy. Web 2.0 technology has democratised influence, anyone can get it. It’s now about the influential ideas, people, brands that are creating cultural capital for youth. As we all know Gen C are hyper connected through digital communities relying on peer influence for most brand and life decisions. The level of influence a young person holds within their tribe impacts directly on their standing within the digital community. Marketers need to shift the way they think about connecting with young people. Attention alone is not nearly enough. You need to create ‘influence’. We’ve seen a shift from INTERRUPTION marketing (one to many, uninvited, one way) or Disruption (sorry TBWA, your model is out of date now) in the late 90’s to ENGAGEMENT (one to one, dialogue) model (2004-2007) to INFLUENCE (many to many, social currency sought out by Gen C). What does this mean for brands trying to connect with youth? As always, your brand needs to have a strong point of view on the world that’s unique and culturally relevant. Think about what conversations in culture you can spark and how you can build or leverage a community around that piece of conversation. How can you make Gen C ‘influential’ withing their tribe? Do something remarkable and let the community play with it. In 2009, it’s all about the ‘art of creating influence’ in youth marketing.