The Tipping Point

In Social Media & Online PR, The Digital Marketing Blog by Natalie1 Comment

the tipping point

In November I decided to wander on down to The Globe to check out the Brighton Social Media meet up. This is an event which happens once every month, with the intention to become a home for all of those social media and marketing boffins from Brighton and the surrounding areas to get together and well, have a cheeky pint and a little chinwag about all things social. More recently it has become a platform for those dabblers and experts in related fields to present their ideas to each other.

To cut a long story short, I walked in intending to buy a new remote control and came out with a 50” Sony Bravia with no wall bracket. Yes, that means I put my foot in it and asked the host and father of the event, David Somerville, if I could take a stab at presenting my own ideas to the unsuspecting and innocent crowd. He said yes and 2 weeks later I found myself rolling around in a set of slides ranging from the titanic to superheroes.

Just as I stumbled into the opportunity to talk I also stumbled into the topic of my talk; “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell. Written at the turn of the century, Gladwell explored inexplicable social movements and in the end, successfully deduced that like anything (even magic is just science we haven’t figured out yet) they can be explained.

From the rise of Hush Puppies to the fall of New York crime, Gladwell introduces these social movements as “epidemics” and states that just like your regular cold, they work in the same way. With contagious behaviour and small things causing big effects all that you need to complete the epidemic formula is the big guy, the tipping point. The point at which an idea, trend, movement, product or service reaches critical mass is the point at which it tips, so I figured hey, this was written in the year 2000, what about now?

First I tackled Gladwells exploration of his three archetypes crucial to tipping points; Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen. Mavens are “data banks”, they are market specialists that will go the extra mile and more to help a person in need of a deal. Connectors are those that thrive on acquaintances, where most of us simply use acquaintances as a measure for possible friendship, connectors are the ones with thousands of twitter followers that they communicate with regularly. Salesmen are those that convince the doubtful, they entrance you into their way of thinking with micromovements and speech patterns that have you saying yes before you’ve even heard the pitch.

But it’s 2012 now, how does this work when a large percentage of the first world population lives online? How can a campaign get a tipping point of its own within these online cities? And more pertinently, is this why Psy – Gangnam Style is the most viewed video on YouTube?!

My goal was to chat about effective ways to get these guys on your team. From keeping these archetypes in mind when you write your content to tailored marketing ideas for each, I expressed my thoughts on the night with the help of Breaking Bad, Superheroes and a cute cat, just for good measure. All things considered I was pretty nervous, but the reception was great and the feedback since the event has been even better. If nothing else, I hoped my talk to be thought provoking and entertaining, and that those that came got something useful out of it!

My ideas stemmed primarily from Chapter 2 of The Tipping Point, “The Law Of The Few”. Gladwell goes onto discuss many more factors in epidemics and their corresponding tipping points, go read it!

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  1. Interesting ideas on producing content. I like the idea of engaging all three types of audience – I will try this checklist with my next blog/ content. Will have to pop along to this SM meet-up too!

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