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Kiersten Toye
July 28, 2017

How Your Brand Can Break the Herd Instinct Barrier


Let’s face it: a brand’s prosperity in the marketplace relies on consumers’ active interest. Despite the importance of appealing to individual consumers, the herd instinct factor remains a powerful attribute for brand success.

In short, herd instinct influences consumers to make buying decisions based on popular peer preferences rather than on individual interests or needs. This behavior continues to become prevalent among modern day consumers. For instance, a NR Media Group study discovered that millennials, who account for over 20% of the population, have a higher interest in products recommended by a friend than those displayed in an ad. This reality is one brands can’t afford to disregard.

Brands wishing to outshine and outlive their industry competitors need herd instinct on their side. Fortunately, your brand can begin appealing to herd instinct through the following strategic methods.

Craft a Referral Program
The transportation company Uber clearly understands the power of referrals. Not only do they reward ride credit to customers who recommend their services to peers, they encourage employees to conduct driver referrals in exchange for bonus compensation. Today, Uber’s referral efforts helped it execute over 2 billion rides across more than 70 countries.

Like Uber, your brand can create a referral program to turn loyal consumers into your promoters. This herd instinct-friendly method can shorten your time spent on researching leads as well as boost your credibility within your target market.

Tell Your Consumers’ Story
A 2016 Adlucent study discovered that 71% of consumers are more engaged by ads tailored to their personalized interests and shopping habits. That striking number should be enough to get your team repurposing your product’s message to suit the needs and interests of your consumers.

Even if you’ve started profiling your consumer market as a whole, further solidify your messages and appeal by considering what subgroups also exist. Once you identify subgroups, brainstorm ways to turn their demographic data into an ad or marketing campaign.

The more personalized and relatable a consumer message is, easier it will be to encourage consumers to become peer representatives for your company.

Increase Your Social Sharing Activity
Social media has become one of the most utilized marketing channels, with nearly one-third of the world using social networks regularly. After pinpointing which social media channels are the best channel to communicate to consumers, it’s beneficial to create content that aligns your brand’s primary message with your target audience’s interest. Collaborating on content with peer influencers also is another avenue for encouraging social sharing.

It would be ignorant to say peer pressure doesn’t affect the marketplace. In order for brands to continue beating their competitors, they must acknowledge the existence of herd instinct as well incorporate it in their consumer-facing strategies.

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