HERD

Mark Earls

The one-sentence summary

Forget individual choice – people just copy each other, but crowds usually get it right.

WHAT THE BOOK SAYS

  • It is subtitled “How to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature”.
  • The main point is that, whilst everyone else is banging on about individual choice and one-to-one marketing, in fact everybody just copies, or is influenced by, other people.
  • As such, most attempts by marketers to alter mass behaviour fail because they are based on a false premise.
  • This is why most government initiatives struggle to create real change, why so much marketing money fails to drive sales, why M&A programmes actually reduce shareholder value, and most internal change projects don’t deliver any lasting transformation.
  • Most of us in the West have misunderstood the mechanics (‘the how’) of mass behaviour because we have misplaced notions of what it means to be human.

ELEMENTS OF THE BOOK I PARTICULARLY LIKE

  • There is a huge range of diverse anecdotes and evidence – from Peter Kay and urinal etiquette to international rugby and the rise of the Arctic Monkeys – to show that we are, at heart, a ‘we’ species, but one suffering from the ‘illusion of I’.
  • It challenges most standard conceptions about marketing and forces the reader to rethink the whole thing.
  • The seven principles of Herd marketing are:
  1. Interaction (between people)
  2. Influence (of certain people)
  3. Us-Talk (the power of word of mouth)
  4. Just Believe (stand for something and stick to it)
  5. (Re-)Light the fire (overcoming cynicism by restating the original idea)
  6. Co-creativity (let others join in)
  7. Letting go (you never were in charge of your brand)