Thursday, 9 June 2016

A theory and concept and how to apply it.

When you see garbage on the floor do you feel the urge to add to it or do you hold onto your garbage and put in the garbage can?

Most of you will say you will hold your garbage until you get to a garbage can. To yours and my surprise this is actually not true.

Studies have named this the Broken Windows Theory. Conducted by James Q Wilson and George L Kelling, they have concluded that vandalism that is not expunged promotes more serious crimes. Well how can this be?

"If someone finds a building with broken windows, people may break some more windows" because the consequence is less severe if it is already broken. This may in turn bolster "people to squat in these buildings and possibly light fires."

I find this the same at home, when I see dishes in the sink I am more tempted to put my dirty dishes in there rather than to clean them and put them away.

So why are we programmed this way? Does social proofing have anything to do with this? Are we conformists?

"We accept what others do at the same time we want to be accepted." or we can say it like this, "The way to be accepted is to do what others do." That is part of our social structure.

The same holds true for when we go to a theatre and we hear someone else laughing at what goes on the screen. If you were by yourself you may not find it as funny, but the laughter of others becomes contagious.

Now some can argue this theory, of course it is just a theory. Other factors could be a cause to the increase in crime. Such as, the delinquent's personality and character, some can be more sensitive than others to the environment, again it can all be individually based.

How can we explain figures such as Mother Teresa or Rosa Parks, or people in uniform? Are they on the other side of the coin? Why do they not join in with everyone else?

A French Sociologist French Tarde, German anthropologist Friedrich Ratzel, and an Austrian geographer Leo Frobenius have discovered a concept called the diffusion of innovations.

You may have heard of this before, a five step decision making process. Innovators, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Ghandi, Bill Gates, these are the creators. Early Adopters, people who get in line to buy the latest gadget as soon as it is available for sale. Early majority, people who wait sometime before they commit to buying an idea or product. Late majority, people who need social proofing before they buy something. Laggards, well these guys are the resisters and the last to adopt an innovation.

Where do you fit in? Do you accept the latest innovation and you must have it before anyone else? Do you wait until others have taken the risk to make sure it is safe?

Why am I telling you about this theory and concept?

We as entrepreneurs need to understand the psychology behind the buying processes. This is fundamental in creating the right strategy and targeting the right consumers. If we can understand people and how they behave we can lead accordingly.

Not all entrepreneurs are innovators, actually most aren't. However good entrepreneurs are leaders. They go first, take the risk, and lead by example.

The key target is the customers who are the radical buyers (early adopters) and the early majority. The marketers need to laser focus on these two quadrants because they in turn will bring everyone else in, social proof.

Final thoughts on this, do not contribute more to crime, instead do the opposite when you see something unethical or immoral. Thus you will create your own social proofing and possibly lead by example.

When my girlfriend and I bought 40 hamburgers to hand out to the homeless, we walked out of McDonalds and carried this down the busy street. We handed our first burger to someone in need and as soon as someone seen us do this I heard "there should be more people like you" and there can be if you set the example for others to follow.

People not only want to contribute to doing bad things but we yearn to do good things too because ultimately that is what makes us feel good.

From a business perspective, understand your market, and always target the people who will set an example for others to follow.

Until next time, if you got to the bottom of the post I appreciate it. To be continued....

You can also find this on my website

Image copyright by

No comments:

Post a Comment