pic c/o Sodahead
Listen, I think we need to sort this thing out.
It's not that what people say to each other isn't important in shaping our behaviour.
Nor, indeed that recommendation (or advocacy or whatever you call it) in particular, is completely irrelevant.
It's just that the really important mechanism lies in what other people see, hear and feel going on around them: it's in the eyes and ears of the advocate's peers and not in the words of the advocate or recommendor. It's at the "influenced" end of the telescope and not the "influencer".
Of course, we all use "what other people are saying about x" as a general heuristic to shape our own behaviour and ideas but actually more of the time it's what we observe going on around us – the behaviours and the gestures of our peer – that really counts: what we see and hear and sense.
That's what brands and governments and managers and anyone trying to change behaviour need to think about and focus on.
And that holds for Human and Timelord behaviour alike.