Industry Insights

Dennis’s Three Pillars of Authority for Scaling Your Business

Who is Dennis Yu, and why should you know about his three components of scaling your business?
Dennis is the CTO of a digital marketing company named BlitzMetrics; they actually collaborate with young adults in schools on digital marketing matters. He is somewhat of an expert on the subject, as he co-wrote the book Facebook Nation on it.
On top of that, he has been featured in prominent news sources like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and he is a renowned Facebook marketing lecturer. Yu has given keynote speeches at the Marketo Summit, Gulltaggen, L2E, Conversion Conference, PubCon, and Social Media Marketing World. On top of that, he has also spoken in 17 different countries over 730 times.
Needless to say, he knows what he is talking about. Here are some of his tips for scaling your business without coming across as fake or too needy.

Dennis’s Three Pillars of Authority

The first and most important step is establishing authority. This refers to both actual authority, as in having an exclusive feature or lower prices, and perceived authority that needs to be earned.
If you don’t currently have any authority, it must be established before anything else happens. As Dennis says in his blog, “you have to build an ember before you can ignite it with fuel.”
Building authority essentially requires having someone that can adapt your brand and promote it for you. On top of that, having interviews with established influencers, generating mentions on social media, and gaining shares on your videos does a great job of building up your business.
Instead of your customers having your value placed right in front of their faces, they need to be convinced of it.
So, what do the three pillars of authority consist of?
Dennis Yu’s three pillars of authority are:

1. Who is Saying It?

The “who” is vitally important. As we will discuss in more depth later, customers are not going to necessarily trust every claim you make about your products and services. Any company trying to sell something is going to have good things to say about themselves. What makes it real?
The key here is having customers trust the source of the good things they are hearing. Otherwise, it won’t matter what is being said.

2. What is Being Said?

Obviously, you want the information that’s being shared to be good. However, it is important to note that the delivery of the information makes all the difference in the world.
For example, you stating that no one else makes social media ads as you do and that you are better than anyone else in the field might not impress your customers too much. If consumers see your product and are impressed by it, and then share that with others, you will get much farther. Proving your worth in this case is a better way to go about things.

3. Where is it Being Said?

How is the information about you being shared? Is it through boastful ads, or through genuine interviews with real customers of yours?
The location is vitally important in this case, which we will discuss in more detail later.
Instead of boasting to customers in expensive, polished ads, you need to be subtler with showing your value. Simply telling them how amazing you are might just drive them away, rather than making them want to stay. Find authentic ways to get the word out, and you will reap the rewards.

Comparing Word of Mouth to Perceived Authority

You can compare word-of-mouth to perceived authority easily, as Dennis does. Instead of the consumer forming their opinions on information they receive from the people around them, you can be the one supplying the facts.
This is an incredibly useful tool, especially because it is frequently the most influential aspect for your consumers.
Commercials are a fantastic example of this. You probably watch companies boast about all of the fantastic features and low prices they offer all the time, but it’s not always a reliable way to decide whether or not you should use them for their services. However, if you have a family member or friend who has tried and swears by the service in question, you may be more likely to give them a shot.
It comes down to showing your customers, instead of just telling them. Instead of talking about how many high-profile companies and people you’ve worked with, show them with photos or interviews of said companies and individuals.
Dennis even points out that this is the same reason that people flock to sites like Yelp when they travel; consumers want a perspective from a real customer. Same with shopping with Amazon, every product can be reviewed and rated by people who have actually purchased them. This makes the choice much easier for the consumer.
He refers to this effect as the lighthouse. It simply means that when you lift yourself up by lifting others, you are kind of feeding off someone else’s status. You are presenting yourself to be great by association, instead of just talking about it.

Real-Life Examples of Perceived Authority

If you would like another example of what this looks like, take this outing with Dennis and a friend.
His friend, who is a social lead generator at Infusionsoft, was having a casual conversation with Dennis about their expectations of Facebook in 2019. While having this important discussion, the two were having a meal together and had fried chicken crumbs all over themselves.
This scenario shows you the effect that environment and presentation can have on the delivery of their information. While acting normal and messy, Dennis’s opinions of Facebook may come off as being more authentic and legitimate. If the setting were “stuffier” and more professional, you might be more suspicious of how real they were being.
While it may seem pretty straightforward, this is an essential idea for modern digital marketers to keep in mind.

Utilizing Perceived Authority for Beginners

So how does perceived authority work for the average company? Not everyone can show pictures with celebrities or exciting aspects that bigger companies have. Dennis says that you don’t need anything flashy. All you really need, according to him, is an iPhone, customers, and a dollar to spend each day.
By this, he means that you should use the customers you already have for interviews about the business. These should be casual and friendly, to get authentic answers about your products and services.
Once you have spoken to your customers, you can record it with your iPhone and share it with your whole customer base. This is a much more “real” and organic way to share testimonials of your work with others, instead of merely using something phony with stock answers.
On top of getting authentic answers from consumers, you can also use these interviews to cover a wide range of topics. This makes them look less staged than if you only focus on one small aspect of the business.
Authenticity will trump a celebrity endorsement that looks phony any day. If you have customers that are passionate about what you do, you will have no trouble convincing others of your worth.

Learn More on the Pillars of Authority

Interested in learning more about Dennis Yu and the pillars of authority?
We highly recommend Dennis’s website, and he has a handy blog that is vital for digital marketers and anyone interested in learning more. He is also available on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn if you would like to follow him on social media and connect with him.
No matter the size and presence of your products and services, using his three pillars of authority will take you further than simply only speaking for your own worth yourself.

David Reimherr

David Reimherr

David brings 20 years of sales, marketing, strategy & branding experience to the table. He is the founder of Magnificent Marketing which specializes in content marketing, video marketing & social media advertising (e-commerce, lead-gen, strategic content distribution) and is a lover of marketing, dogs and life!


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