Book Review: “Herd: How to Change Mass Behavior by Harnessing Our True Nature” by Mark Earls

I thought this book was going to teach me how to control the mass behavior to my liking. I was a little disappointed from the book that there are just a few things you can control: your beliefs, behavior, and influencing the words of mouth out there. In a way, this trend works to the favor of social networking like Facebook and Tweeters, who really have the channels to the words of mouth. No wonder Facebook is worth $50B as of today.

A summary of the books is as follows:

‘I’ is an illusion. We’re more ‘us’ than ‘I’ – our memory and decision-making have tricked us.

The 7 principles of Herd Marketing:
1. Interaction.
a. All mass behavior is the result of interacting individuals within a specific context. We do what we do largely because of other people. b. Organizations are built on the interactions of individuals. c. Understand the rules of interaction, which generate the complexity of the behavior that you are studying.

2. Influence
Peer-to-peer, consumer-to-consumer influences are more important than “persuasion.”

3. Us-talk
WoM (Word of mouth) Facts: 1. WoM is more important than other purchase influences. 2. WoM is getting more important over time. 3. WoM operates in both B2B and B2C. 4. WoM is a global – not just a US – phenomenon.

4. Just Believe
Be interesting and hold beliefs that engage us. 1. Be who you are. 2. What do you believe in? Find it and live it. 3. Act like you mean it (and don’t act like you don’t …).

5. (Re-)light the fire.
Make it personal to live your beliefs. Otherwise cynicism, within or without, will unpick your vestal virgin impersonation.

6. Co-creativity
Use the herd’s desire to co-create – it’s part and parcel of our human herd nature. It challenges our assumption of control; the warm, comfortable felling that we’re in control.

7. Letting go
Human herd behavior is complex and systemic, the illusion of control is both largely unhelpful and misleading. You have to get used to being out of control. The best we can hope to do is cast a pebble on the water. Choose the pebble wisely. Choose how to throw it but once the stone leaves your hand we have to let go.