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Mark Earls

The one-sentence summary

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


  • 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.


  • 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)