How To Become a Popular Company.

I was out driving recently in Los Angeles and saw an amazing sight.

A famous hot dog stand called Pink’s had a line of people outside that went half way around their entire building.

The question is, why?

Is it because their hot dogs are so amazing?

Well I’ve eaten there and while they’re good, a hot dog is a hot dog. There’s only so much you can do with it.

Is it because they spend a fortune on marketing?

No way. In all my time in L.A I’ve only seen one ad for Pinks.

Is it because they cost less than other hot dogs?

On the contrary, they cost more than many of their competitors.

No, in my opinion the reason Pink’s has people waiting for an hour just to taste their dogs is because of a factor far more strange and subtle.

People line up outside Pink’s because they see other people lining up.

They assume that because so many are lining up the hot dogs must be amazing, and so they decide that they too must visit this place.

So it becomes self perpetuating.

There’s a term for this in behavioural research – it’s called Social Proof.

Humans tend to get more interested in things when we see that other humans are interested in them.

So, think about this:

How can you create the appearance that lots of people love your company?

If you could just achieve that, then you too would get an ever increasing number of people desperate to buy from you.

As I see it, there are three ways:

1. Get lots of testimonials.

When potential customers read about other customers that adore your products, their desire for your stuff will dramatically increase.
2. Initiate a PR campaign about popularity.

Plan a campaign of hitting the media outlets with stories about the fast growth and popularity of your company, product or service.

3. Create shortages.

Consider occasionally making your product unavailable or booked out, due to high demand.

None of these strategies cost much money, but together they will go a long way to creating the impression that your company is popular, and that your product is something really special.

Pretty soon you could end up like Pink’s.

Not selling hot dogs, but selling hot products.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

7 thoughts on “How To Become a Popular Company.

  1. Simon

    Great observation.

    Apple Stores ooze Social Proof.
    Every time a PC person walks past they wonder what an earth is so attractive to all the people in there. (Some weaken and go to the dark side)

    A half full tips jar in a Restaurant is “social proof” and so is a full parking lot outside the restaurant.

    … also

    “The majority of guests you stay in our hotel re-use their towels”

    “Comment” counts on blog postings

    “8 out of 10 owners said their cats preferred Whiskas”

    Download counts, Likes and Tweets

    and on our own business ASSOB which is a Capital Raising Platform “red squares” represent each parcel of about $30,000 raised for a business. It is “social proof’ that others have become a follower, become engaged with the capital raising and invested.

    Paul Niederer

  2. Great article, now that you point out number 2 I can see that a lot of companies do this which drives more growth. Never thought of it that way.

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