Marketing consultants are bombarded by daily considerations of What for our clients. What’s the right message? What’s the right channel? What angle do we take so the right people notice what we have to say? Those are all vital questions, the daily essence of what we do. That being said, most people never really consider something much more fundamental – Why it all works.
Not the strategic Why as in goal and content development, but a larger, more primitive one. Why does buzz help business at all? Why is getting the right message in the right place at the right time such a valuable thing?
There isn’t one simple answer to that question. Like a bad political debate, everyone’s got an opinion, so here’s mine …
People are social creatures at our core – that’s an undisputed fact. This is the reason we look at new photos on Facebook, the reason we follow people who say funny things on Twitter, and the reason we even bother to keep up with the news. This innate drive to know what other people are doing and what else is going on is the motivation that makes us care what others have to say.
On some basic level, this stems from the fact that we need other people to give us answers.
That thought might sit too well at first, but give it a moment.
In the late 70s and early 80s, a couple of social science researchers out of Harvard, Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen, were two of the leading minds in the world on the subject of human attitude formation (who says you’ll never use what you learned in college?). Together, these two extraordinarily intelligent individuals did an insane amount of research that led them to some remarkable discoveries about how the human mind works. Using this, they came up with a very complex theory that attempts to explain how and why we make the choices we do – they called it the Theory of Reasoned Action.
As a very brief, selective and completely inadequate summary of this monumental piece of work, Fishbein and Azjen came to the following conclusion (among many others): A lot of our action as individuals is dictated by social influence.
I’m a self-proclaimed independent thinker. I hated this the first time I heard it. But when I gave it some context, I started to come around.
Think about what you do when you need information. Regardless of whether you search online, make a phone call or ask a question to someone you know, you’re turning to a resource provided by someone else. We become social because when we need information, we have to have other people’s input. And the people we rely on most become very influential to our own opinions.
This idea is a hot-button issue across marketing and social media landscapes today – it’s called “Thought Leadership.” It’s the Holy Grail for people like us, the overriding What we want for our clients. “Thought Leaders” own a space. People seeking information pay attention to What they have to say. Most importantly, “Thought Leaders” have influence.
So back to the big question of Why. Why does buzz help your business? Because it amplifies your voice and expands your influence.
We’re all social beings, whether we’d like to admit it or not. At the very least, we need other people to help us solve problems and get us information. We have to have their input to form our own opinions and figure out what makes sense on our own. If you can be the source of that information as a business or a business owner, people will keep coming back – and they’ll tell others.
That’s Why it all works. Buzz around your business establishes you as a resource, as a go-to point of contact.
It’s an involved process, it takes time, but it in my most humble of opinions, it is an incredibly valuable thing.