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My TEDx PR Talk (200K+ Views): A Recipe for PR Success

Hearty breakfasts, torches of freedom, and naked rock stars.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

This is my TEDx PR talk from 2016.

Since pub­lic rela­tions is such a potent tool, I wanted to share my most power­ful recipe for PR suc­cess with the TEDx audi­ence. I wanted to dis­cuss identi­fy­ing a Stupid Majority to ensure your com­munity’s engage­ment. 1Regarding stu­pid major­it­ies, Mark Twain sup­posedly said it best: “Whenever you find your­self on the side of the major­ity, it’s time to pause and reflect.”

I also talk about eggs and bacon for break­fast—and why rock stars some­times get naked.

Here we go:

My TEDx PR Talk

The Stupid Majority

From what con­ver­sion the­ory tells us, minor­it­ies tend to hold their opin­ions more firmly. This is reas­on­able since going against the major­ity comes at a high­er social cost. 2Silfwer, J. (2017, June 13). Conversion Theory — Disproportionate Minority Influence. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​c​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​-​t​h​e​o​ry/

But some minor­it­ies have an addi­tion­al advantage:

Smart Minority = a minor­ity of today that will grow into a new major­ity of tomorrow.

In con­trast, some major­it­ies have an addi­tion­al disadvantage:

Stupid Majority = a major­ity of today that will stead­ily decline into a minor­ity of tomorrow.

Examples of Stupid Majorities

Stupid Majorities are to be found everywhere:

Riding a skate­board isn’t a real sport!”
(Stupid Majority vs Red Bull)

Computing is about bits and bytes, not design!”
(Stupid Majority vs Apple)

Websites and apps can­’t pro­duce movies and tele­vi­sion shows!”
(Stupid Majority vs Netflix)

Electric cars can­’t com­pete with gas cars!”
(Stupid Majority vs Tesla Motors)

Hotels must have hotel rooms!”
(Stupid Majority vs AirBnB)

Taxi com­pan­ies must have tax­is!”
(Stupid Majority vs Uber)

Media com­pan­ies must pro­duce media!”
(Stupid Majority vs Facebook)

Identifying a Stupid Majority (and sid­ing with a Smart Minority) will cla­ri­fy your core mes­sage and attract highly engaged minor­ity supporters.

Since time’s by your side (the Stupid Majority will be gone no mat­ter what), tar­get­ing a Stupid Majority might become your career­’s most influ­en­tial PR strategy.

Read also: The Stupid Majority PR Strategy: How Underdogs Dominate

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More About My TEDx PR Talk

I gave my TEDx PR talk at TEDxÖstersund:

How do you scale social rela­tion­ships in busi­ness? Online spin doc­tor and PR expert Jerry Silfwer explains why rela­tion­ships are vital for grow­ing your busi­ness and why brands must tar­get a stu­pid major­ity to attract the act­ive sup­port of a smart minor­ity.

Working out of New York and Stockholm, Jerry has helped numer­ous world-renowned brands and star­tups activ­ate their fans online. […] In his talk, Jerry will reveal why we must stop obsess­ing over big reach num­bers in mar­ket­ing and PR and instead uncov­er the power of small num­bers.”

Thank you so much for put­ting it togeth­er for all you ded­ic­ated pro­fes­sion­als who helped organ­ise this event. I enjoyed the exper­i­ence immensely (and it goes onto my Epic Year list, for sure), and I feel proud to have been invited to speak. 

Also, many thanks go to the fine folks at Mid Sweden University who appoin­ted me Alumni of the Month in September 2016.

More per­son­al mile­stones? Here we go:


Please sup­port my PR blog by shar­ing it with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: Conversion Theory

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

The Conversion Theory: The Misrepresented Minority

The dis­pro­por­tion­al power of minor­it­ies is known as the con­ver­sion the­ory. 3Conversion the­ory of minor­ity influ­ence. (2021, February 12). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​_​t​h​e​o​r​y​_​o​f​_​m​i​n​o​r​i​t​y​_​i​n​f​l​u​e​nce

How does it work?

The social cost of hold­ing a dif­fer­ent view than the major­ity is high. This increased cost explains why minor­it­ies often hold their opin­ions more firmly. It takes determ­in­a­tion to go against the norm. 4Moscovici, S. (1980). Toward a the­ory of con­ver­sion beha­viour. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 209 – 239. New York: Academic Press.

In con­trast, many major­ity mem­bers don’t hold their opin­ions so firmly. They might belong to the major­ity for no oth­er reas­on than that every­one else seems to be. 5Chryssochoou, X. and Volpato, C. (2004). Social Influence and the Power of Minorities: An Analysis of the Communist Manifesto, Social Justice Research, 17, 4, 357 – 388.

In groups, the minor­ity can have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate effect, con­vert­ing many ‘major­ity’ mem­bers to their own cause. This is because many major­ity group mem­bers are not strong believ­ers in its cause. They may be simply going along because it seems easi­er or that there is no real altern­at­ive. They may also have become dis­il­lu­sioned with the group pur­pose, pro­cess, or lead­er­ship and are seek­ing a viable altern­at­ive.”
Source: Changingminds​.org 6Conversion Theory. (2023). Changingminds​.org. https://​chan​ging​minds​.org/​e​x​p​l​a​n​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​t​h​e​o​r​i​e​s​/​c​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​_​t​h​e​o​r​y​.​htm

According to con­ver­sion the­ory, while major­it­ies often claim norm­at­ive social influ­ence, minor­it­ies strive for eth­ic­al high ground. 

Given the power of norm­at­ive social influ­ence, minor­it­ies must stick togeth­er in tight-knit groups that can verb­al­ise the same mes­sage repeatedly.

Learn more: Conversion Theory: The Disproportionate Influence of Minorities

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PR Resource: Diffusion of Innovations

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses
Diffusion of innovations.
Diffusion of innovations.

Diffusion of Innovations

The Diffusion of Innovations the­ory, pro­posed by Everett Rogers in 1962, remains a frame­work for under­stand­ing how new ideas, tech­no­lo­gies, products, or prac­tices spread through soci­et­ies over time. 7Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). Free Press.

The the­ory out­lines the pro­cess by which innov­a­tions are adop­ted by indi­vidu­als and groups, emphas­ising the role of com­mu­nic­a­tion chan­nels, social net­works, and the char­ac­ter­ist­ics of the innov­a­tion itself. 

  • Innovators (2,5%)
  • Early Adopters (13,5%)
  • Early Majority (34%)
  • Late Majority (34%)
  • Laggards (16%)

By examin­ing real-life examples, we can bet­ter com­pre­hend the prin­ciples of this the­ory and its applic­a­tions in vari­ous fields:

  • Smartphone adop­tion. The rap­id adop­tion of smart­phones provides a com­pel­ling example of the dif­fu­sion of innov­a­tions. Initially, smart­phones were adop­ted by tech enthu­si­asts and early adop­ters who val­ued their advanced fea­tures. Over time, as prices decreased and func­tion­al­ity improved, smart­phones became more access­ible to the gen­er­al pub­lic. Today, they are nearly ubi­quit­ous, illus­trat­ing the dif­fu­sion pro­cess from innov­at­ors to early adop­ters, early major­ity, late major­ity, and finally, laggards.
  • Social media adop­tion. The rise of social media plat­forms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram exem­pli­fies the dif­fu­sion of innov­a­tions in the digit­al realm. These plat­forms began with small user bases but quickly gained momentum as early adop­ters spread pos­it­ive exper­i­ences to their social net­works. As social media became ingrained in every­day life, more con­ser­vat­ive users gradu­ally embraced these plat­forms, lead­ing to wide­spread adop­tion across demographics.
  • Electric vehicle adop­tion. The adop­tion of elec­tric vehicles rep­res­ents a con­tem­por­ary example of the dif­fu­sion of innov­a­tions with­in the auto­mot­ive industry. Initially, EVs faced scep­ti­cism and lim­ited con­sumer interest due to con­cerns about range, char­ging infra­struc­ture, and price. However, as tech­no­logy advanced and envir­on­ment­al aware­ness grew, early adop­ters embraced EVs. Government incent­ives and improve­ments in bat­tery tech­no­logy fur­ther accel­er­ated adop­tion, lead­ing to broad­er accept­ance and main­stream adoption.
  • Streaming adop­tion. The shift from tra­di­tion­al tele­vi­sion to online stream­ing ser­vices illus­trates the dif­fu­sion of innov­a­tions in the enter­tain­ment sec­tor. Platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video ini­tially attrac­ted tech-savvy early adop­ters seek­ing altern­at­ives to tra­di­tion­al cable TV. As these ser­vices improved their con­tent lib­rar­ies and user inter­faces, they gained trac­tion among the early and late major­ity. Today, stream­ing has become the dom­in­ant con­tent con­sump­tion mode for mil­lions worldwide.
  • Telemedicine adop­tion. The adop­tion of telemedi­cine ser­vices provides a recent example of innov­a­tion dif­fu­sion in the health­care industry, par­tic­u­larly high­lighted dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Initially met with scep­ti­cism due to con­cerns about patient con­fid­en­ti­al­ity and the qual­ity of care, telemedi­cine gained accept­ance among early adop­ters seek­ing con­veni­ence and access­ib­il­ity. As reg­u­lat­ory bar­ri­ers were over­come and health­care pro­viders integ­rated tele­health into their prac­tices, broad­er adop­tion fol­lowed, with patients and pro­viders recog­nising its benefits.

The Diffusion of Innovations the­ory offers insights into how new ideas and tech­no­lo­gies influ­ence soci­et­ies. Understanding these dynam­ics can inform pub­lic rela­tions strategies across diverse contexts.

Diffusion research has helped under­stand new product adop­tion and dif­fu­sion, with net­work ana­lys­is and field exper­i­ments being prom­ising tools in under­stand­ing the con­sump­tion of new products.”
Source: Journal of Consumer Research 8Rogers, E. (1976). New Product Adoption and Diffusion. Journal of Consumer Research, 2, 290 – 301. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​8​6​/​2​0​8​642

Learn more: Diffusion of Innovations

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ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Regarding stu­pid major­it­ies, Mark Twain sup­posedly said it best: “Whenever you find your­self on the side of the major­ity, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
2 Silfwer, J. (2017, June 13). Conversion Theory — Disproportionate Minority Influence. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​c​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​-​t​h​e​o​ry/
3 Conversion the­ory of minor­ity influ­ence. (2021, February 12). In Wikipedia. https://​en​.wiki​pe​dia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​C​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​_​t​h​e​o​r​y​_​o​f​_​m​i​n​o​r​i​t​y​_​i​n​f​l​u​e​nce
4 Moscovici, S. (1980). Toward a the­ory of con­ver­sion beha­viour. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 209 – 239. New York: Academic Press.
5 Chryssochoou, X. and Volpato, C. (2004). Social Influence and the Power of Minorities: An Analysis of the Communist Manifesto, Social Justice Research, 17, 4, 357 – 388.
6 Conversion Theory. (2023). Changingminds​.org. https://​chan​ging​minds​.org/​e​x​p​l​a​n​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​t​h​e​o​r​i​e​s​/​c​o​n​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​_​t​h​e​o​r​y​.​htm
7 Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). Free Press.
8 Rogers, E. (1976). New Product Adoption and Diffusion. Journal of Consumer Research, 2, 290 – 301. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​8​6​/​2​0​8​642
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

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