Popularity has a hypnotic voice that attracts the masses with unrestrained charisma: Oprah approved books, mega churches, no talent pop music, Hondas, awful skinny jeans, you name it.
Human nature gravitates toward that which is popular. I believe this magnetic pull is in response to a primal need to feel connected with as many other human beings as possible. This connection is not so different than the bond two distant lovers share by viewing the same moon and sun. Human nature also has a natural distrust of the unknown or unproven. Hence, it’s more logical and less risky to support the mass approved product.
We respond to people who are popular.
We respond to places that are popular.
We respond to products that are popular.
It feels natural to seek out that which is approved by others as “good, redeeming, or attractive”. Studies show that all opinions are birthed from the influence of others.
I attribute this phenomenon to a learned behavior disorder I call Communal Opinion Syndrome: The inability to form an opinion or make a decision without the aide, prompting, opinion or approval of others in a particular commune or social circle(Gee, maybe I should submit this to Wikipedia?).
Unfortunately, to get a product to sell (assuming you have a marketable product or service, more to come on this topic), I mean really sell outside of the sympathetic arms of friends and family, one has to step into the arena of popularity in some way to some degree. This will look different for everyone, of course. It doesn’t mean you have to sell out, but it does mean that it’s vital to get a product or service to a point where a group of people deem it as “good”. It could be a mass following or a cult following. There just has to be a following. As long as random solo flyers are buying your product or service, it will never retreat from the dreaded black-hole status.
However, if you’re up for the challenge of helping potential customers or fans overcome Communal Opinion Syndrome, I’m here to offer some tidbits of knowledge I’ve acquired during my rewarding, humbling and frustrating journey as an indie novelist and musician. I will review and showcase resources that helped to improve my products or increase my customer base. I will feature success or failure stories from those willing to submit. I don’t claim to have all of the answers, as I only have a few, and I don’t promise to always be objective. In fact, I promise to never be objective.
The good news is that Communal Opinion Syndrome is curable. I happen to be a recovering addict myself. What are you doing to aid your potential fans or customers in the recovery process?
Comments and discussion are welcomed, just keep it civil and family-friendly, please.
Coming up: The Dangers of Categorizing Friends and Family as “Fans”.