Taxonomy of Influence Strategies

Strategies that profile, prepare and position players.

Strategies that calibrate, signal and assess.

FLOATTest it to try it

The speculation on preliminary concepts or tentative plans. (f.k.a. Trial Balloon or Test)

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PINGNudge to judge

The testing or suggesting 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 and brands.

LABELReduce to its essence

The purification of an idea, issue, position or point of view.

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INFORMCommunicate to educate

The description or instruction of data, facts and information. (from the play f.k.a. Fiat)

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INVOKERelate to accentuate

The referencing of an idea, issue, event, player or brand. (f.k.a. Screen)

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FILTEREdit to omit

The selective use of data, facts, acts and information.

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Strategies that redirect, salvage, slow and stop play action.

Strategies that divulge, evade and reroute.

DISCLOSEDivest to disarm

The proactive communication of controversial acts or information. (f.k.a. Lantern)

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DEFLECTDodge to redirect

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

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RECASTRevise to reposition

The reinterpretation of information, positions and platforms.

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DECOYDistract to detour

The luring of a player from its preferred position or plan. (f.k.a. Red Herring)

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Strategies that relent, co-opt and confound.

CONCEDEConfess to recoup

The admission of a flaw, mistake or misdeed. (from the play f.k.a. Disco)

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CROWDCopy to coattail

The mimicry of an established player, position or idea.

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PREEMPTAdopt to co-opt

The taking of another player’s position or idea, often a rival’s. (f.k.a. Trump)

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JAMDisrupt to interrupt

The disabling or disorientation of message, meaning or media.

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Strategies that assert authority and excite players.

Strategies that take positions and take charge.

DECLAREStipulate to dictate

The assertion of an idea, opinion or position as decided or true. (from the play f.k.a. Fiat)

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REJECTRepudiate to separate

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

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CHALLENGEEncourage to advance

The invitation to make, take or modify a position.

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CONTRASTReflect to reveal

The comparison of data, facts, acts, commitments and claims. (f.k.a. Mirror)

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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 or novelty.

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BAITTaunt to trap

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

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A strategy that transcends classification.

PASSQuit to outwit

The withdrawal from a position or point of view.

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Third parties that run plays with or on behalf of others.

PARTNERA coequal

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

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PROXYA hired hand

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

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PLANTA secret ally

A Partner or Proxy whose methods and motives are unattributed or unknown.

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Related Terms

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See also

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Standard Guidance


Hover on any element for definitions. Tap for risks and rewards, effects, counter-plays, cases and more.

The Taxonomy of Influence Strategies is the front door to a patented, precise and proven ontology that identifies, describes and classifies the fundamental units of advocacy and persuasion (aka, influence or social plays). Developed with Fortune 100 companies and leading universities, this first-of-a-kind ontology features 23 strategies observed in communications, finance, marketing, media, military and government intelligence, politics and sales across professions, governments, regions, customs and cultures. Download and print your copy here.

The Playmaker taxonomy is organized along two axes where engagement increases left-to-right and transparency increases bottom-to-top. A third axis details the character and characteristics of every play and surrogate plus more than 1,000 options and expert tips for running plays. Tap here for details.

As defined below, an influence play must meet four tests to be considered for a position in the Playmaker taxonomy.