Monday, 2 March 2009

Herd Theory & Live Experiences

Image Courtesy of JelleS

Lots of marketing books seem clever when you first read them. A radical new theory, some new lingo to bandy around, case studies from foreign parts. But a few months later you can’t quite remember what they were about or why they seemed so interesting. Herd by Mark Earls isn’t one of these. It has been around for a couple of years now and still seems really clever.

Earl’s start point is that humans are ‘super social apes’; we like a chat and a gossip. And, that businesses typically overestimate the power they have to directly influence consumers and should instead pay much more attention to consumer-to-consumer interactions.

Herd theory has huge relevance to the role of live experiences within marketing and their ability get people doing and talking.

Here are a few points I noted / thought about down while reading Herd.

1) Be interesting. Businesses that do the best job of getting people talking are those that are fundamentally interesting and often have the strong beliefs of their founders running through them.

2) The best live experiences are born of a passion. It is no surprise that the businesses that have led the way in using live as a successful part of their communications are typically belief led – Apple, Howies, Innocent, Nike.

3) Live experiences have the power to amplify beliefs and behaviours already in place within a business but often hidden from the consumer. Guinness Store House is one such example.

4) Consumers talk about brands that ‘do’ rather than just ‘say. Live events are of course a great way to ‘do’.

5) When creating an experience think about your MIV (most influential customers) as opposed to necessarily your MVC (most valuable customers).

6) See communication as an action rather than a form of behaviour. This is a good way of thinking about live events and the power they have to create energy for a brand.