Next time you are walking around town, take a look at the shirts and hats people are wearing. You’ll probably see a lot of Chicago Cubs, Golden State Warriors, and Clemson Tigers apparel. These teams are all current champions in their respective leagues, so it is only natural for fans to start hopping on those bandwagons. If you looked around town ten years ago, I guarantee you would have seen a lot more Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Mavericks, and Florida Gators gear. People jump on the bandwagons of the moment, but they jump right off again when the excitement and glamor start to fade.
These changes of heart are important in business. Fads and trends make a product hot today and gone tomorrow. Right now, fidget spinners are all over the place. Every child wants one. Whoever invented the fidget spinner must be thrilled. Ten years ago, though, the thing to do was wear Heelys and ride them all around town. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone in Heelys.
Could I find something to criticize in all of this? Yeah, sure. There’s something admirable in rooting for the same team, win or lose. Sometimes it’s better not to let any new, shiny thing turn your head. But to a certain extent, changing fashions are probably part of human nature and, let’s face it, when it comes to toys and games, fickleness is probably harmless.
Look, people get excited when an idea is on the rise. They want to blend in, do the cool thing everybody else is doing, and they want to feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves. Particularly, people like to feel like they’re on the winning side. When you root for the champions or wear the most popular brands, you get to feel like you’re winning, too.
So, what does this have to do with you and your business? The urge to jump on board with the latest shiny thing, the desire to feel like a winner, it’s not necessarily the best part of humanity–but it is a reality you have to deal with, and you can use it as a tool to do good things.
Get inside the minds of your customers. Is there something about your product or your service that can help them feel like winners? That can help them feel like they belong?
The power of the bandwagon probably won’t last. It seldom does. One bandwagon fades out, and the next one starts rumbling along. But if you can get yours going and get people hoping on to it, that’s a major opportunity you can do something with.
Who knows, maybe you’ll invent the next fidget spinner? While it lasts, that will be a lot of power. The question is, how do you get the power of the bandwagon effect? And if you get it, what will you do with it?