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During my research at MICA on the 1984 Sikh riots, the most obvious property of a crowd kept popping up. The fact that crowds amplify sentiments. It’s only natural after all.
If one wants to be a part of the crowd or be heard in one, you have to be more extreme than them all.
The result is that your group turns into a group of extremists, really. All raging to out-do the other and yet show loyalty to the group’s thought and cause.
The online world isn’t much different if you ask me. These rules of the crowd apply just as much.
People tend to react in extremes in the online world. They either love you or they hate you. This may be common in today’s world but it’s accentuated by the fact that online you’re competing for popularity, page views, subscribers, followers with only your words to stand for you. And since CAPS is considered bad manners, you’ve only got biting words at your disposal.
A dislike for a brand’s campaign can suddenly spiral into a I-hate-brand-X campaign with bloggers sporting buttons and hacking you down on twitter. After all, the stronger my point of view, the more peopel are bound to take me seriously. Plus the stronger my words, the more likely you are to read on.
Reacting vs Responding
With such little time left for reflection
with 20 tweets a minute
with 10 feeds updates an hour
you really have such little time to process information you read. And the constant need to be a part of the conversation and be one with th group means we’re all often reacting rather than responding. (Amazon Fail)
Notice the sudden outrage at the Amazon story #AmazonFail
This is especially worrisome if you agree that ”If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states” (Twitter and Facebook could harm moral values, scientists warn)
This reaction is often exaggerated by social media socialites and turns outrage into a true blue e-riot.
Now this is where the power gets to your head. The 66 odd subscribers I have and how I can use them to show this person/company/brand that I can ‘screw their happiness’.
Outrage is more justice seeking and serves as a good warning (in my humble opinion). While the second one is plain vindictive.
Coke did this campaign with bloggers some time back where they asked them
to give some of their home page to their new brand i9. In return they sent
them a cool usb-fridge. To say thank you ofcourse.
Now outrage would be saying coke shouldn’t have done this. why buy bloggers off. unfair. boo.
But what really happened is plain vindictive -
Bloggers who were not a aprt of the campaign starting trashing coke left right and centre. Perhaps they were jealous. Perhaps they hated the idea of bloggers being bought. But then they weren’t being bought, right? so why all the fuss?
Prenu coughed just like me.
She also walked like me.
Ate the things I liked and liked the people I liked too.
She was the tiniest kiddo in my neighbourhood and I suppose she wanted to be me. Afterall I was clearly the eldest person around and therefore cooler I suppose (or just nicer, I never was cool)
She observed me all the time (it was quite freaky if you ask me).
There’s a brand in the market that’s pretty much Vicks’ Prenu. It looks just liek Vicks form a distance, though it isn’t a counterfeit. The packaging, the choice of colours, it all gives you the unblocked feeling of being around Vicks. And mind you, it’s worked wonders for them. From a no-brand to an almost-know-brand, the team’s convinced the brand’s going places.
So when someone suggests a new design and look, it’s only natural for the management to balk at them. After all, who in their right mind would change something that’s doing well.
But ofcourse there’s something wrong with that thinking (else I wouldn’t be writing a post about it, now would i)
Vicks’ Prenu is a small brand today. It managed huge gains by virtue of imitation. But sadly it’ll always remain an imitation. A copy. A me-too. A wannabe.
It’ll grow. A lot. And that’ll be great. But then it’ll stop. Like really.
Imitation doesn’t work for ambitious brands. The ones who want to kick the leader off his pedestal. It works great for those who wants a piece of the market-pie, albeit a small one.
At some point of time when you’re nearing the market leader, when you’re available at the same shelves, you’re advertising in the same expensive papers and TV channels… someone’s bound to notice that you’re a rip-off. And really, why’d I buy a me-too when I can get the real thing?
But then, how do you convince a client that what’s been working for him these past years won’t work any more…