HerdHow to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature
"...fascinating. Like Malcolm Gladwell on speed." —THE GUARDIAN "HERD is a rare thing: a book that transforms the reader's perception of how the world works". —Matthew D'Ancona, THE SPECTATOR "This book is a must. Once you have read it you will understand why Mark Earls is regarded as a marketing guru." —Daniel Finkelstein, THE TIMES This paperback version of Mark Earls' groundbreaking and award winning book comes updated with new stats and figures and provides two completely revised chapters that deal with the rise of social networking. Since the Enlightenment there has been a very simple but widely held assumption that we are a species of thinking individuals and human behaviour is best understood by examining the psychology of individuals. It appears, however, that this insight is plain wrong. The evidence from a number of leading behavioural and neuroscientists suggests that our species is designed as a herd or group animal. Mark Earls applies this evidence to the traditional mechanisms of marketing and consumer behaviour, with a result that necessitates a complete rethink about these subjects. HERD provides a host of unusual examples and anecdotes to open the mind of the business reader, from Peter Kay to Desmond Tutu, Apple to UK Sexual Health programmes, George Bush to Castle Lager, from autism to depression to the real explanation for the placebo effect in pharmaceutical testing.
Dedication v About the Author xvi Foreword by Russell Davies xvii Notes on Paperback edition xxi Introduction 1 At the 'cellotaph' 1 Ghostbikes 4 So how are we to explain this kind of thing? 4 Bigger boys made me do it 5 A book about mass behaviour 7 Mass behaviour is hard to change 7 Bad theory, bad plan. Better theory? Better plan? 9 Old news? 10 I and the other 10 Market research and me 11 We're all individuals – I'm not 12 Understanding the how not just the what? 13 What the book will cover 14 How to use this book 17 Part One: A 'We-Species' with an illusion of 'I' 1: The Super-Social Ape 21 Tea and kindness 23 Advertising works 24 Even more advertising works 25 We want to be together 26 Say what you see 28 A we-species 29 Are we stardust? 30 The successful ape 31 Homo or Pan? 32 When I grow up 33 Primates are social 34 Why the naked ape? 35 Sexuality 36 The infant ape 36 So why naked then? 39 The brain of a social ape par excellence 39 How others shape us 41 How we make each other unhappy 42 The social brain 43 The sound of the crowd 44 The empathetic ape 45 Language and stroking 46 The loneliness of autism 47 Collaboration: the keys to the kingdom 50 Self-interest and collaboration 51 Game on 51 Game over and over 52 Collaboration across the nation? 53 Learning from each other? 54 How collaboration built the world 55 Shirts – the work of many hands 56 Summary of this chapter 57 Questions to ponder 57 Questions and issues for marketers 58 2: The Illusion of 'I' 59 Pepper's ghost 62 What does Pepper's ghost tell us? 63 I woke up this morning . . . 64 What it is – oh, I forgot 65 Eternal sunshine and spotless minds 66 False memories 66 Monkey see 68 Lazy minds 69 Don't think too hard 71 Retelling the story 72 The big when 73 The illusion of consciousness 75 Depression and the distorted self 78 Treatments 79 Summary of this chapter 81 Issues arising 82 Questions and implications for marketers 82 3: 'I' vs. 'Us' 85 Yes we can 87 Travelling for real 89 Beware Greeks 91 Ubuntu 92 Peace and reconciliation 93 Wo die Zitronen blühn 95 Studying consumer tribal behaviour 97 Beyond marketing 97 Far from the madding crowds 98 The politics of 'I' 100 The collective mind 100 No such thing as society 102 Is the rest of the world so wrong? 102 'I' ideology 103 How social psychology got individualized 104 'I' research 105 Expert opinion 106 Heroes and villains, and other individuals 108 Unhappy feet? 108 The curious tale of curious George 109 What this chapter has demonstrated 110 Some questions 111 Issues for marketers arising from this chapter 111 Part Two: The Seven Principles of Herd Marketing 4: Key Principle No. 1: Interaction 115 At the market 117 At the urinal 118 In the lecture theatre 121 Complexity vs. complicated 122 Complexity as a way of seeing the world 123 Interactive animals 124 Interactive humans 125 Back to the football 126 Learning from the Mexican wave 127 At the offi ce 128 Meanwhile, somewhere in Aberdeen 129 Summary so far 130 Every day, every day, in every way . . . 130 Crime and punishment 132 New York, New York 133 The physics of crime 135 More crime, less physics 136 Crims, saints and fl oaters 137 Fighting on the beaches (and in the suburbs) 139 The facts 139 Analysis 141 What to do about such riots 143 Markets and interaction 143 Behavioural markets 145 The challenge for market research 146 Issues arising 147 Implications and questions for marketing and business 147 5: Key Principle No. 2: Infl uence 151 Saturday night's all right 153 Faces in the crowd 154 1-2-3-4 . . . 155 Brainwashing 156 Brainwashing and conformity 156 Parallel lines 157 Fear and needles 158 Hands together, please 159 The placebo effect 160 What do you do to me? 161 Stupid boy 162 Marky Mark is not Infl uential 163 Why one-to-one is wrong 164 Charidee, my friends 165 Relation-canoes 165 Relationships redux 166 Channel tunnel vision 167 From you to me to me and everyone I know 168 Getting over yourself 169 More infl uence 170 The Milgram experiment 171 Let the tapes roll 172 How good people do bad things 173 Born unequal? 175 Naturally infl uential? 176 Social infl uencers 178 Connectedness 179 Meet Lois 180 Infl uence and infl uencers 181 Researching infl uence 181 Learning from Decision Watch 182 The Infl uenced not the Infl uencer 184 What this chapter has shown 186 Some questions for marketing 187 6: Key Principle No. 3: Us-Talk 189 Don't believe the hype 191 Children of the revolution 192 So why is the record industry so scared? 193 Scary Mary 195 What can we learn from the Arctic Monkeys' success? 196 Boom time for WoM Marketing 196 What does Marketing (really) know about WoM? 197 WoM Fact 1. Word of mouth is seen by consumers to be more important than other infl uences on individual purchases 198 WoM Fact 2. Word of mouth is seen to be getting more and more important over time 199 WoM Fact 3. Word of mouth seems to operate in both B2B and B2C 201 WoM Fact 4. Word of mouth is a global – and not just a North American – phenomenon 202 Astroturfi ng 204 I
"Earls has a beguiling and an irrepressible intellectual curiosity, so the book becomes a very enjoyable and allusive compendium…” (The Guardian, March 2007) "Bold in its conception and engaging in execution, offers the most radical new theory of consumer behaviour in a generation" (Gulf Business, March 2007) "…brain-stretching stuff, looking at economic patterns, investment history and behavioural psychology to help the reader become a shrewder investigator." (Securities and Investment Review, March 2007) "It will change the way you think about marketing. It will also change the way you think about yourself." (Marketing Direct, November 2007)
Mark Earls is one of the leading thinkers about brands, marketing and mass behaviour. He has held senior positions in some of the largest and most influential communications companies in the world – his last job was as chair of Ogilvy’s Global Planning Council, prior to which he was Planning Director at the revolutionary St. Luke’s Communications in London. His written work has regularly won awards from his peers and is considered by many to be amongst the most influential being written about consumer and mass behaviour today. His first book, Welcome to the Creative Age, was widely read and discussed and has been translated into several languages. HERD has received recognition and praise in a number of fields and Mark has travelled extensively to talk about HERD with audiences drawn from both the business and the public sector. Mark lives in North London but would rather be watching cricket or fishing, ideally somewhere sunny.
In 2003, the first white-painted bicycle shrine appeared on the streets of St Louis, Missouri, to commemorate a fallen rider. Soon, cities in other US states had their own versions; but today, we see these shrines in more than 80 cities around the world. Like the ‘cellotaphs’ – the rash of floral tributes that mark the site of road-accidents in the UK with cheap flowers and sentimental prose – this phenomenon seems to have come from nowhere and yet suddenly it is everywhere. How do you explain the explosion of cultural phenomena of things like this? Like the adoption of text messaging when there has been little or no active promotion of the behaviour? How a Mexican wave happens? The emergence of online communities? Unless you have a good explanation of how these kinds of things arise, you won’t have much chance of altering them. HERD explains that most of us have misunderstood the mechanics (the ‘how’) of mass behaviour because our thinking is shaped by misplaced notions of what it means to be human. This is why so many government initiatives struggle to create real change, why so much marketing money fails to drive sales, why most M&A programmes end up reducing shareholder value and most internal change projects don’t deliver lasting transformation. Mark Earls uses a diverse range of different sources, anecdotes and evidence – from the comic Peter Kay and urinal etiquette, to international rugby and the rise of new musical stars – to show that we are at heart a ‘we-species’, but one suffering from the ‘illusion of I’. In doing so, Earls challenges some of our deepest ideas to reveal the truth about who we are and what marketers, managers and governments can do to set about influencing mass behaviour. Bold in its conception and engaging in its execution, HERD offers the most radical new theory of consumer behaviour in a generation. This revised and updated edition articulates the provocative but highly practical model of mass behaviour and encourages the reader to put it to work in their organization and work, but more fundamentally, it changes how each of us sees ourselves and those around us: to see ourselves as first and foremost social creatures who do what we do in the company (and under the influence of others). ‘If you’re not practicing what Mark Earls is preaching, get comfortable being part of the back of the pack. There are few who understand the human like Mark does!’ Robert Barocci, President/CEO, The Advertising Research Foundation ‘HERD is that rare thing: a book that transforms the reader’s perception of how the world works. Mark Earls has mapped out the behavioural patterns of the post-millennial landscape with gripping accuracy and come as close as anyone to explaining why we do the things that we do, the way that we do them. An indispensable manual for the Web 2.0 era.’ Matthew d’Ancona, The Spectator ‘HERD is a must read. These days, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the speed at which the world is changing. Mark Earls is one of those extraordinary folks that provides context and makes meaning of these changes. With HERD, Mark opens our eyes to a new way of thinking about human behaviour and how it will affect your business.’ John Winsor, Crispin Porter Bogusky ‘This book is a must. Once you have read it you will understand why Mark Earls is regarded as a marketing guru. And you will feel as though you understand the world a great deal better. And the other reason you have to read it? Everyone else is.’ Daniel Finkelstein, The Times ‘This book has a vital place in the fast-growing library of books seeking to find newer, more accurate models of human behaviour. Just like rational agency, it seems individual agency may have been dangerously overrated. The implications of this stretch far beyond any one discipline or field of activity.’ Rory Sutherland, IPA President, Vice-Chairman Ogilvy UK
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