Taxonomy of Influence Plays™

Strategies that monitor, shape and educate.

Strategies that calibrate ideas and signal intentions.

TestPreview to play

The release of preliminary concepts or tentative plans.

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PingPulse to play

The exploration or suggestion of implied interests or positions.

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PauseDelay to play

The deliberate suspension of play action.

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Strategies that shape players, plans and market discussions.

DescribeCommunicate to educate

The impartial description or instruction of facts and information.

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InvokeEquate to affiliate

The referencing of a brand, reputation, issue, idea or event.

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RecastRevise to redefine

The reinterpretation or repositioning of information, players and platforms.

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FilterEdit to omit

The selective use of information, facts and figures.

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Strategies that redirect, salvage and stop play action.

Strategies that reroute, shun and conceal play action.

DiscloseCome clean to keep clear

The voluntary disclosure of a flaw, mistake or controversy.

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RejectRepudiate to separate

The disavowal of or distancing from a player, issue, idea, event or brand.

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DeflectEvade to avoid

The sidestepping of a query, suggestion, insinuation or attack.

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DecoyDistract to conceal

The diversion of a player from another's position or plan.

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Strategies that salvage, slow and reverse play action.

ConcedeCome clean to recover

The acknowledgment of a flaw, mistake or controversy.

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CrowdCopy to keep up

The mimicry of an established player, position or idea.

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PreemptCo-opt to control

The adoption of an established position or idea, often presumptuous or unjustified.

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JamDisrupt to interrupt

The disabling or disorientation of communications, processes or plans.

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Strategies that assert a player’s position and provoke others.

Strategies that compel, corner and expose players and plans.

ChallengeEncourage to advance

The invitation to make, take or modify a position.

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DeclareStipulate to dictate

The assertion of an idea, opinion or position as true or real.

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LabelPurify to pigeonhole

The reduction of an idea, event, player or product to a sound bite or meme.

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ReflectCite to expose

The communication of contrasting facts, acts, commitments and claims.

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Strategies that de-position players and elicit reactions.

Call OutDisparage to embarrass

The derision of a player, issue, symbol or point of view.

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PeacockPreen to be seen

The brazen or boastful promotion of an idea, opinion, novelty or innovation.

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BaitTaunt to trap

The provocation of a player to act against its self-interest.

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A stratagem that transcends classification.

PassRetreat to regroup

The withdrawal from a position or point of view.

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Third parties who runs plays on behalf of others.

PartnerA coequal

A surrogate who operates as a peer in pursuit of a common agenda.

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ProxyA hired gun

A surrogate who advocates for another player, typically for consideration.

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PlantA secret ally

A surrogate whose methods and motives are unattributed or unknown to others.

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Related Terms

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See also



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Standard Guidance

At the heart of the Playmaker System is a first of its kind — a patented, precise and proven taxonomy of influence plays (aka, influence strategies). An industry-tested, academically-vetted ontology that identifies, describes and classifies the fundamental units of advocacy and persuasion. Twenty-three stratagems and three surrogates observed in communications, defense, intelligence, marketing, media, military, politics and sales across professions, governments, regions, customers and cultures.

How is it organized?  Each of the 23 named plays is assigned to one of three overarching classes (shown along the taxonomy’s top row as Condition, Control and Confront) and then to one of the six underlying subclasses (shown in the second row as Test, Divert, Frame, Freeze, Press and Provoke). Drill down on the table above to see the plays you run…and the plays that are run on you.

For a free printable copy of the Taxonomy of Influence Plays, click here.