It’s a small world af-ter all. It’s a small world af-ter all. It’s a small world af-ter all it’s a small, small world.
If you were humming along, you are likely part of a group of people who have been on the ride at Disney. Feels good to belong doesn’t it? It feels great to know that no matter what your interest is, you’re not alone.
Here Comes Everybody
I’m currently reading Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody and have reached a point that explains this small world effect. It’s called homopholy and it is the central concept around the cultural memes of “six degrees of separation” or “birds of a feather flock together”.
Have a look at this video that models this idea of homophily. Notice how individuals in a group represented by red dots are able to find one another and gather together.
Now have a look at this real world example of homophily and lessons in group leadership narrated by Derek Sivers.
In the past, connecting people of similar interests was limited by their geographical location to one another. Now with the increase in connectivity through search engines and social networks, people with similar interests are able to find one another quickly and form groups regardless of the geographical distance between them.
The theory of Homopholy has been scientifically tested and retested for decades by the likes of Stanley Milgram, Facebook and Kevin Bacon. In their own way, each have helped us to understand how it is that individuals with little or no social connections are improbably drawn together through specific interests.
Homopholy or “love of the same”, transcends academia and the IMBD. Understanding homopholy may be the key to understanding the new world of collaborative marketing. Both Seth Godin and Marty Neumeier have made compelling cases as to why modern brands must learn to lead buying tribes rather than sell products. The reasons are three-fold.
First, consumers don’t like be sold but they they do like to buy and they often buy in groups.
Second, your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what consumers say it is.
Third, the mass amateurization of media (as Clay Shirky calls it) has transfered the power of media and therefore it’s accompanying influence into the hands of the consumer. Consumers in turn are now able to quickly self-organize groups around their “love of the same”. As these groups grow, they become increasingly powerful and capable of defining what a brand is and how it is perceived on a local, regional or global scale.
Rather than wait for groups of consumers for self-organize, brands have opportunity to lead. This is why Coke has committed to a new kind of marketing strategy (Content 2020) that involves a partnership and collaboration between brand and consumer. This marketing strategy to collaboratively develop content and gather a group will define the Coke brand for decades to come.
Coke is just one example. Do you have others?
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