Are You Ready For Your Impact Equation?
Are You Ready For Your Impact Equation?
Are You Ready For Your Impact Equation?

My friends Chris Brogan and Julien Smith finally have a follow-up to their 2010 New York Times best-seller Trust Agents. It’s a useful collection of stories and exercises to help you spread ideas. While the authors claim it’s not a social media book (and are a bit defensive about that early on), it turns out that it really is in a lot of ways. But it’s helpful for the offline, too.

Impact Equation offers us a pneumonic formula for communicating our ideas, whether they are a product, story, campaign or notion. The {Impact = C X (R+E+A+T+E)} equation is an easy way to remember that your contrast, multiplied by the sum total of your reach, exposure, articulation, trust and echo equals the amount of impact you can make on the world. It’s a clever way of expressing the age-old ideas of marketing. You have a product that you position (Contrast) to your audience (Reach) and even promote through public relations or advertising (Exposure) using clear messaging (Articulation). If you deliver on your promise (Trust) then people spead the good word (Echo) and you have impact.

The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien SmithMind you, the book illustrates several how-to-type lists and even dissects other successful communicator’s Impact Equations so you wind up with the gist of it. So, it’s useful to anyone wishing to approach a market with a clear understanding of how to take their idea and build a case for it in the marketplace. The thinking here, while a fresh take, isn’t incredibly new.

But this is where some get side-tracked by what Chris and Julien offer. They bring these ideas to life with interesting storytelling and by plugging them into our modern communications landscape (including but not limited to, but mostly including, social media). They’re really good at inspiring individuals who want to break the chains of the modern corporate business structure and make a way for themselves. They’re also good (I’d opine not as, however) at helping businesses translate all that neat advice into more traditional settings.

Chris and Julien are friends, but they’d be mad at me if I weren’t honest here. This book is good. It’s worth reading. But I think it was an attempt to take the independent, online communications, solo-preneur expertise they both have in abundance and put it into actionable form for everyone. For some, it will. For others — especially more traditional business people — it may, but may not. Yes, it’s uplifting and a fresh view of the world. But the book hit me as being really good at showing off how smart Chris and Julien are and not as good at showing businesses how to be. (They’re both incredibly smart and the book has more obscure references than a Dennis Miller monologue.)

There’s still a lot of social media purist in there. One example I recall was a story about how Malcolm Gladwell would make up words and ideas and seed in his New Yorker stories to see if they would catch on with others. The concepts of the Tipping Point and 10,000 hours are examples. Smith and Julien assert that he was able to seed his ideas this way and then claim you can, too. But the honest truth is that most people cannot. They don’t write for The New Yorker and they sure as shit aren’t as smart as Malcolm Gladwell. In theory, they’re right. But in theory, I could lose 125 pounds, own the Pittsburgh Pirates and date Elizabeth Shue.

But for all my neo-contrarian attitudes toward the promise of online fame and fortune, Impact Equation is still a worthwhile resource for both independent dream seekers and tried-and-true corporate climbers. It’s ideas are translatable and transferrable to the company perspective as well, and marketing managers could use a new AIDA or Four P’s to follow. As gimmicky as their equation appears, Chris and Julien have come up with an easy-to-use formula for communications success.

The book is available online and offline at your favorite retailers. You can buy it from Amazon, affiliate style, here if you’d like.

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at


Social Media Jobs

VIP Explorer’s Club