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Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Natureby Mark Earls
Synopses & Reviews
Can you explain the explosion of social activities like text messaging with little or no promotion of the behaviour? How a Mexican wave happens? The emergence of online communities? Or – more sensitively – the steady rise of floral roadside tributes to traffic accident victims from complete strangers? Unless you have a good explanation of mass behaviour, you’ll have little chance of altering it.
Herd reveals that most of us in the West have completely misunderstood the mechanics of mass behaviour because we have misplaced notions of what it means to be a human being. With a host of examples from Peter Kay and urinal etiquette to Apple and Desmond Tutu, Mark Earls offers the most new radical, controversial and significant new theory of consumer behaviour in a generation.
"At one level a profoundly simple and important idea, that just happens to overturn everything we thought we knew about marketing to the individual."
—Adam Morgan, Founder, Eatbigfish
"Mark Earls helps us see clearly that we need to re-write the rules and provides us with a playbook for doing so. Are you ready for the ‘we’ revolution?"
—Ed Keller, CEO, The Keller Fay Group
"Herd is a dazzling, nutrient-rich read that urged me to see afresh the big underlying forces driving media behaviour and why they especially matter now."
—David Abraham, EVP, The Learning Channel
"As important to read as Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Morgan were. I cannot recommend it highly enough unless you are a luddite or an ostrich."
—Mark Sherrington, Global Brands Director, SABMiller
"Read this book. Think about it. If you’re going to be any good at your job in the next 20 years then you need to questions your assumptions about how stuff works."
—Russell Davies, Founder, Open Intelligence Agency
"...fascinating. Like Malcolm Gladwell on speed."
"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.
Can you explain the explosion of social phenomena like text messaging when there has been little or no promotion of the behaviour? How a Mexican wave happens? The emergence of online communities? Or – more sensitively – the steady rise of floral roadside tributes to traffic accident victims?
Unless you have a good explanation of mass behaviour, you won’t have much chance of altering it. 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 reduce shareholder value and most internal change projects don’t deliver lasting transformation.
Herd explains the ‘why’ of our struggles to influence mass behaviour. It reveals that 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. Mark Earls uses a diverse range of different sources, anecdotes and evidence - from Peter Kay and urinal etiquette to international rugby and rise of the Arctic Monkeys - 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.
About the Author
Mark Earls is one of the world’s foremost communications practitioners and a leading thinker about brands, marketing and consumer behaviour. He has been described variously as ‘one of the Advertising scene’s foremost contrarians” and ‘the Christopher Hitchens of advertising and marketing’. But mostly he just refuses to accept received wisdom and is determined to make us all think a bit harder to get better results.
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. His work has regularly won awards from his peers and is considered by many to be amongst the most influential being written today. His first book, Welcome to the Creative Age, was widely read and discussed and has been translated into several languages.
Mark is in much demand as conference speaker around the world – in recent years he has spoken in the UK, USA, Argentina, France, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Spain. He lives in North London but dreams of tight lines, off-drives and sunnier climes.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Russell Davies.
Part One: A ‘We-Species’ with an illusion of ‘I’.
1: The Super-Social Ape.
2: The Illusion of ‘I’.
3: ‘I’ vs. ‘Us’.
Part Two: The Seven Principles of Herd Marketing.
4: Key Principle No. 1: Interaction.
5: Key Principle No. 2: Infl uence.
6: Key Principle No. 3: Us-Talk.
7: Key Principle No. 4: Just Believe.
8: Key Principle No. 5: (Re-)Light the Fire.
9: Key Principle No. 6: Co-Creativity.
10: Key Principle No. 7: Letting Go.
Part Three: Making Sense of the Herd.
And it’s goodnight from him . . . .
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