The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is a great resource and guide to aid any aspiring blogger or marketer. Gladwell first sets out to explain and identify why some trends stick, and why others fail terribly.
In the first chapter, Gladwell explains what he calls the “tipping point”. The tipping point is the moment that connects all of the individual events that have led to a certain trend. He also states the “Three Rules of Epidemics”: The Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. I found it interesting that Gladwell seems to stick to a formula – like solution to identifying trends and styles, and that most trends and styles have a very similar birth.
The Law of Few was the first factor that included three kinds of people: the connectors, the mavens, and the salesmen. The connectors are the people who have “connections” in many different networks, and therefore are able to relate between groups. The mavens are people that will help the consumers make decisions, and the salesmen are the people who will help shape the buyer’s decisions and choices with their great personalities.
The Stickiness Factor describes the unique quality that causes the trend to “stick” and stay in the minds of the consumers. Gladwell uses the example of children’s television shows and how they transformed over time into educational television. PBS’s Sesame Street was the major pioneer of educational children’s television and proved the fact that the show helped toddlers and young children develop literacy skills. Blue’s Clues was another example that came long after Sesame Street began, but continued to use these techniques that “stuck”.
The Power of Context is explained through the necessity of the environmental or historical moment being right in order for the tipping point to occur. Gladwell illustrates this through the example of small changes that altered the environment in New York City and caused crime rates to decline. By keeping neighborhoods looking nice and enforcing small laws, city authorities were able to create an environment that did not promote crime.
I thought the next point Gladwell raised was interesting: group size can influence the climax to the tipping point. 150 is the magic number. Groups less than 150 are usually intimate, interdependent, and efficient, while groups over 150 tend to lose these characteristics.
Gladwell continues on with the examples seen in the case study of the rise and decline of Airwalk shoes, and the cast study of suicide and smoking in teenagers.
Overall The Tipping Point conveyed great ideas and methods that should be used in PR and marketing. In order for a trend to materialize, work within the niche market and then find ways to appeal to a larger audience. As a beginning blogger, this was a great read to gain ideas and strategies to market my brand and appeal to specific groups.
A major trend that I can think of today are Ray-Ban sunglasses. After reading this book I became interested in how the Ray-Ban trend exploded. Wherever you go on a Gator game day, you see so many people in Ray-Ban sunglasses; the company definitely did something right and found their “tipping point”!