How to harness herd mentality

Jumping on the bandwagon

In the mid 1800s, famous circus clown Dan Rice began to parade on his bandwagon to drum up notoriety for his political ambitions.

Noting his apparent success, aspiring politicians sought to join him through jumping on his bandwagon, and by the end of the century bandwagons had become a popular campaigning tool.

Politics still attracts many clowns, and today the phrase “jumping on the bandwagon” is used as a derogatory term indicating association with a fad, but is there a way we can use the bandwagon effect positively?

With the ill behaviour 

I can’t be the only person gawping at the annual newsreels of ‘Black Friday’ with a derisory sneer, and indeed through history groupthink & deindividualisation have often garnered a bad rap.

In the financial world, it’s well recognised that herd mentality can lead to extraordinary popular delusions & economic bubbles.

How we chuckled upon reading about a dozen acres of land being offered for a single tulip bulb at the 17th century peak of the Dutch mania, yet here we are again today with speculators tipping billions of dollars into the most recently created cryptocurrency, or even companies adding the word ‘Blockchain’ to their name.

Following trends can be profitable – real estate developers follow demographic shifts, traders use technical analysis, & so on. Following trends into fads that may ultimately prove to be worthless, on the other hand, is ill-advised.

Join the club: the herd mentality for good

We know that people seek social proof, see safety in numbers, & are sensitive to the behaviour of those around them, so how can you use this knowledge positively?

Here are six ways that you can harness the herd mentality to benefit your business:

(i) User ratings & reviews – find ways to allow your customers to supply feedback, ratings, & reviews in a public forum;

(ii) Case studies & testimonials – add success stories, quotes, & tributes to your marketing material;

(iii) Statistical support – have you delivered a great product or service many times before? If so, then let people know! From a customer’s perspective, if everyone else is doing it then you’re not alone;

(iv) Social media shares – if you’ve successfully created raving fans, help them to do your marketing for you through social media sharing of your articles & news;

(v) Industry awards – can’t abide many of them personally, but may be of value in your industry!; and

(vi) Endorsement – nothing beats an endorsement from a respected influencer or celebrity.

Like it or not the human herd instinct is here to stay, so make use of these six tips to ensure the sheep don’t eat in the wrong paddock!