10 years of HERD insights

HERD GRAB 2 copy

So it is 10 years ago this week that I first formally presented what I called the HERD hypothesis in written form (see above) at the Market Research Society in Birmingham (for which incidentally I shared the Best New Thinking Prize). Since then – together with a number of brilliant folk – we've managed to evolve and "operationalise" the basic insight at the heart of this paper, with 2 more books, prizes from the nice people at WPP, ESOMAR and Emerald Insight along the way, a host of well-liked articles and some fascinating conversations and experiences with people I'm not sure I'd have met otherwise.

It hasn't all been plain sailing – I have endured any number of pats on the head ("interesting but not really mainstream"), some strange challenges ("OK for kids marketing & poor people – maybe abroad?") and occasionally some hostile responses ("we don't believe that monkey shit round here" being my favourite).

But gradually, over those 10 years things have changed: not least thanks to the explosion of "social media" which has made arguing for the importance of social influence in shaping human (and consumer behaviour) so much easier (praise the Lord for Mr Z for this at least). 

And collaborating with brilliant people – especially Professor Alex Bentley – to turn the analytic techniques developed across the social sciences into practical tool for marketers and decision-makers has been an unexpected but wholly positive pleasure. Back in 2007, we first developed a 4 box map based on patterns to be found in

And now 10 years on, a number of folk have picked up and recycled
the work we've been doing (which is exactly how things work and spread),
mostly (but not always) attributing sources. So if for example you find someone presenting one of these* over the next few days and weeks,…


4 box insert copy

…you'll know what to think, won't you?  

Yes, the HERD effect is at play…

Thank you all – Alex, Mike O'B, Hugh, Jason, Ray P, Gareth K, Kevin K, Kevin D, Nick K, John K, Alex B, Susan G, Tom E, Audrey, John W, Graeme W, Wendy, Angela, Sair, Mark B, Mark H, John, Fiona, Stephen, Giles, Ben, Geoff, Paul, Liz, Judie, Colin, Chris, Roddy, Peter M, Gemma, David, Bob B, Bob P, Claire, Anne & Merry.

Sorry I can't be at MRS to celebrate the 10 years anniversary but I'm sure it'll be fabulous!

*BTW the version here first developed by Alex & I in 2010 with Anomaly & Sony Europe