The BANJO people

By Ted Wright February 3, 2020

banjo people

Readers of my posts know that I’m rather demanding when it comes to the accuracy of marketing speak and the effectiveness of marketing channels. For me either something works or it does not. As such, I enjoy getting into discussions with Scott Guthrie about Influencers, who is one, who is not and why that distinction matters to brands and their management.

Six months ago, Scott floated a new acronym out for Fake Influencers* – “B.A.N.J.O people” as in “Bang Another iNternet Job Out.” And I thought, “Brilliant!” What a great way to describe people who say they are “Influencers” but are really people who will say pretty much whatever the brand wants them to say and the broadcast it using social media.

BANJO people.

No real joy in sharing of stories.

No hardcore integrity about what they are saying.

Just working a pay for play deal to “bang another internet job out.” Functionally, people who are way more of a fad than a trend.  While I’ve written about this before, I think it bears repeating that real Influencers (we call them “Advocates”) have three particular personality traits that drive them to act:

  1. They like to try new things because they are new
  2. They LOVE to share stories with their friends
  3. They are intrinsically motivated

So, this brings us to the questions that you should be asking yourself:

“My “Influencers” how BANJO are they?”

“If they are BANJO people, can I do something that allows them to be less BANJO?”

“If I can’t get my “Influencers” to stop being BANJO, how do I find and then work with actual Influencers?”

*For those of you that are fastidious about your acronyms, I also like “Bang ANother Job Out” which was my translation of Scott’s original idea and still accounts for those people proclaiming to be “Influencers” but leaves the broadcast channel choice out of the discussion. Your choice.


Ted Wright is the founder of Fizz, the world’s leading word of mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Ted is also an acclaimed WOMM keynote speaker and the author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth.

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