You probably remember this from high school. As a kid, you were molded to be a part of a group. Social dynamics stated that parting the group would make you an outcast.
Our brain links this feeling back to the early days, and I mean, the early early days. Tribes were the key to survival. Today, we see its consequences. Modern day society makes it a lot easier to live, but whether you like it or not, groupthink is playing a big part especially in marketing.
“Sit still!” or “Stop laughing and keep quiet.” are common phrases throughout a childhood. The creative adult is the child that survived. Marketing is based a lot on behavior and decisions based on a feeling. This is often forgotten.
No matter how awesome your product is, you probably have competitors and you need to stand out. Because we are all social creatures, we all belong to groups: your friends, family, colleagues, countrymen, and so on. How does this affect our thinking in terms of decision-making and how can this lead to optimizing your website and marketing tactics?
The brand matrix
Let’s use the example of running shoes. What is most important about a running shoe? It needs to be of good quality to support your feet while running. Causing blisters or being uncomfortable beats its purpose. But how do most people choose running shoes?
“Oh, these Nike’s are awesome.” Performance over beauty is what we would state, but we know it is both. This is a philosophy we take into account when building websites or other digital products. Both are equally important.
One might expect that if you buy a more expensive product, you will have higher expectations for the quality and you would be less easily disappointed. While this is true, groupthink adds the dynamic of perception.
In practice, The 10 most expensive running shoes (avg. price: $181) rated 8.1% worse than the 10 cheapest running shoes. Amazing, no? The only reason we value most design brands as ‘very nice’ or ‘special’, is because of groupthink and achieving status in the group.
Fashion, art, trends, … there is a consensus of taste within a group, but taste also changes now and then.
How can you use groupthink to your advantage?
Companies like Google attract the best people to work for them. Because of their reputation and their products, they are able to do a lot of interviews and be strict with vacancy candidates. Employer branding is too often overlooked. It should be cool and fun to work for our company. Above all, make it human.
If you are a smaller company or just starting out, having a small team will allow you to do the same with the right marketing. As a company, you do not always need to scale. If you market yourself as a company of status, and having a small team means only hiring the best people, you are able to attract some real talent.
Emanate quality! If ‘the group’ thinks you are high end, people talk about you and that will create a certain image that will work in your advantage. People might do the same job but working at different companies. Just the name alone of that company will achieve status in the group. Market yourself as one of the qualitative companies.
Perception plays a big role in groupthink. This is why influencers are a thing. Does it matter that a fitness model recommends a certain food box to you? Well, apparently it does. If the groups accept the product, it must be a product of quality. So, when is it the right time to use influencers?
First of all, it depends on your product. Does it fit the influencer’s audience well and do you think it will raise enough awareness?
A great example is Razer or Steelseries, one of the most popular gaming gear brands. By giving out gaming gear to popular video game streamers on channels like Twitch, the streamers are empowered to grow their channels as well as the brand. Influencers are great for niches.
Engaging with your audience and gradually building your social media channels takes effort, but it is worth it. Major brands invest in community managers running their social media. If you do not want to make that cost, aim for 1 to a maximum of 3 posts per week on your Social channels.
More important: engage. Even if it is just to create perception. Trough Social Media, you are given the opportunity to be close to your clients and giving them the opportunity to unite on your page. Creating this engagement will boost the perception of your brand in groupthink and ultimately drive sales.
Every time you post a photo you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand.
A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears.
Your website should reflect the popularity of your brand. What is the goal of having a website? Is it informational or to drive sales? First you should ask this question to yourself. Then choose a focus. There are tools to increase engagement on your website.
With tools such as Sumo you are able to add share buttons to your blog articles, seeing how much times it is shared. With clients, we have numbers in the thousands. If other people think your content is important, it probably is worth the read.
Plugins like Discuss for WordPress give you a customizable comment section with a spam filter. Engage with your audience on your website to show you really care.
Depending on your marketing actions adding testimonials, adding a waiting list or showing the number of people viewing your product is all tactics to play to groupthink. What are the ways for you to use this in your marketing plan?
3rd party websites
One of the ways to grow is to use the network of others. So, why not use the size of other networks to your advantage? Some products are driving sales through Amazon, pulling a lot of traffic to their brand.
Like running shoes. What could you do? Place your business on Swarm so people can check in, which shows the amount of check-ins to other people and they share it with their friends. Think of tactics that add to groupthink. As a restaurant, how could you rank first TripAdvisor?
The most beautiful example is Oobah Butler’s “The Shed at Dulwich”. He made his garden shed the top restaurant and served customers frozen food on its opening night. How did he do it?
He started at rank 18,149. First asked friends and family to leave reviews, later to climb the ranks with exclusivity. He had no address, was very hard to book since it was a fake restaurant. This spiked the urge to eat at the shed, generating an insane number of traffics and bookings.
Groupthink boosted his restaurant’s numbers getting bookings four months in advance. On his opening night, he served £1 meals for expensive prices and people loved it. Oohah’s shed story is a great example of groupthink and it is worth the read.
My advise is to take a 5 minute break, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and write down some ideas you can generate in those 5 minutes that could benefit your product with groupthink tactics. Ping us on our socials and let’s spar ideas!