Johnnie Moore

Herds and blancmanges

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Mark’s published his Admap article: Forget influentials herd-like copying is how brands spread (pdf). This is a nice summary of Mark’s pedigree hobbyhorse. He challenges marketing gurus who think it’s all about penetrating the inner decision processes of the individual mind to discover the magic levers that trigger purchase.

In fact says Mark, so much of what we decide to do comes down to copying those around us, often quite unconsciously. How ideas/brands/viruses spread is complex and can’t be controlled by, for example, identifying a few “key influencers” and reprogramming their minds. All in all, a nice counterblast to a large army of blancmange leveragers.

Mark and his coauthor, Alex Bentley, offer three bits of advice to future marketers

Pull not push: stop thinking about marketing as something you do to people and start thinking about what you can do to help the natural pull mechanism work better. Tactics include visibility, participation, and so on.

Understand the tides and landscape through which pull is operating before you decide on what you’re going to do.

Light lots of fires: cascades built on copying introduce an element of unpredictability. So best to reduce risk by lighting lots of fires and seeing which one(s) take(s).

I think the third is the most important: you have to try different things and see what happens. The second sounds sensible but may risk luring us back into a blancmange leveraging fantasy: first, make a beautiful, complicated model of reality and then make a few masterful interventions based on your superior thinking.

I think you might better understand the tidal forces by doing stuff and being sensitive to what happens. (For complexity junkies, I’m thinking about the “probe, sense, respond” strategy of the complex domain in Dave Snowden’s Cynefin model)

Perhaps the most difficult “key influencer” fantasy to shift is the idea the Marketing Director has, reinforced by organisational hierarchy, that he himself is – or should be – a key influencer.

Share Post

More Posts

Blogging for Ourhouse

Welcome to the Ourhouse Weblog. Blogging is something I’ve become increasingly interested in. Earlier this month I set up the Beyond Branding Blog which is


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking – and worrying – about collaboration. I think the ability to collaborate effectively is becoming ever more essential

Just Undo It?

The AntiBrand: blackSpot sneakers, a project by Adbusters attacks Nike directly. In doing so they take on what has become one of the great icons

Trust and NGOs

My friend Olaf Brugman has invited me to take part in a workshop in Brussels on October 29th. It looks set to be an interesting


I’ve finally started paying attention to RSS and all this stuff about “Blog Aggregators”. The final shove was wanting to get Martin Roell’s English feed.

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations


Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore


I enjoyed John Hagel’s latest post Resolving the Trust Paradox. I do think paradoxes are interesting; shifting perspective to paradox from contradiction often seems to open up new possibilities. I

Johnnie Moore

Blogs and jobs

I’m very glad to see Ton‘s announcement that he’s found a new job. And excited by his reflections on the part blogging played in the process. Just lately I’ve had

Johnnie Moore

The organisation?

This image on the Delta7 blog made me laugh in recognition (as do many of the pictures there).

Johnnie Moore

Back from Auckland

Now back in Nelson (the “sunshine capital of New Zealand”) from Auckland. Had a good meeting with Jack Yan Christine Arden of allaboutbranding and Alison Meldrum, a Scot now working