Other people and their opinions are always important. One of my professors used to say
Public relations are of utmost importance.
People don’t give you a job because you’re bright. There are plenty of bright bulbs around.
People don’t do good work for you because they believe work is worship. Moral science doesn’t have an honour roll system.
People work with you and for you because they like you. Having said that, it isn’t necessary to be Mr. (or Miz.) Popularity. If the people who impact your work and who influence your career ‘sort of like’ you, that ought to do the trick. But well…a little popularity never hurt.