The one-sentence summary

Forget individual choice – people just copy each other, but crowds usually get it right.


  • HERDIt is subtitled “How to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature”
  • The main point is that, whilst everyone else is banging on about individual choice and one-to-one marketing, in fact everybody just copies, or is influenced by, other people
  • As such, most attempts by marketers to alter mass behaviour fail because they are based on a false premise
  • This is why most government initiatives struggle to create real change, why so much marketing money fails to drive sales, why M&A programmes actually reduce shareholder value, and most internal change projects don’t deliver any lasting transformation


  • It explains the ‘why’ of our struggles to influence mass behaviour
  • Most of us in the West have misunderstood the mechanics (‘the how’) of mass behaviour because we have misplaced notions of what it means to be human
  • There is a huge range of diverse anecdotes and evidence – from Peter Kay and urinal etiquette to international rugby and the rise of the Arctic Monkeys – to show that we are, at heart, a ‘we’ species, but one suffering from the ‘illusion of I’
  • It challenges most standard conceptions about marketing and forces the reader to rethink the whole thing
  • The seven principles of Herd marketing are:

1. Interaction (between people)

2. Influence (of certain people)

3. Us-Talk (the power of word of mouth)

4. Just Believe (stand for something and stick to it)

5. (Re-)Light the fire (overcoming cynicism by restating the original idea)

6. Co-creativity (let others join in)

7. Letting go (you never were in charge of your brand)


  • Nothing: it’s great