Taxonomy of Influence Strategies

Strategies that hint, hide, define and redefine.

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, positions, plans and brands.

LabelSimplify to stereotype

The reduction of an idea, issue, event, brand or player.

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EquateRelate to accentuate

The likening by a player to an idea, issue, event, brand or other player.

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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 data, facts, figures and other information.

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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, foil, copy and confuse play action.

ConcedeCome clean to recover

The acknowledgment of a flaw, mistake or controversy.

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ReflectUse facts to foil fakes

The citation of contrary data, facts, acts, commitments and claims.

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CrowdCopy to keep up

The mimicry of an established player, position or idea.

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JamDisrupt to interrupt

The disabling or disorientation of communications, processes or plans.

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Strategies that promote agendas and provoke players.

Strategies that dictate, co-opt, encourage and apprise.

DeclareStipulate to dictate

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

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PreemptCo-opt to control

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

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ChallengeEncourage to advance

The invitation to make, take or modify a position.

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InformAdvise to apprise

The release or description of data, facts, acts and other information.

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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 with or 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


Hover over and drill down on any play for detailed descriptions and standard guidance.

Patented. Precise. Proven.
The Taxonomy of Influence Strategies™ identifies, describes and classifies elemental units of advocacy and persuasion (aka, influence plays). Vetted at Fortune 100 companies and leading universities, this first-of-a-kind ontology features 23 stratagems and three surrogates observed in communications, defense, intelligence, marketing, media, military, politics and sales across professions, governments, regions, customers and cultures.


How the Taxonomy is Organized Having met rigorous qualifying criteria (right), each play has been assigned to one of six subclasses (shown as Test, Divert, Frame, Freeze, Press and Provoke). Subclasses have in turn been assigned to one of three overarching classes (shown as Condition, Control and Confront). Classes and subclasses are ordered left-to-right by the degree of engagement they are observed to achieve (e.g., framing plays in light green have a lower ability to impact or spur a market than pressing plays in purple). Individual plays are ranked and stacked top-to-bottom according to their observable level of transparency (e.g., a Concede play in the blue freezing subclass is more easily detected than the Jam in the same column.)


For background on the Playmaker Influence System and its supporting frameworks, please download our white paper here. For a free printable copy of the Taxonomy of Influence Strategies, tap here.