Our most personal beliefs and habits are influenced by peers and social networks (check out Herd to learn more on this). Consumption habits are no exception. Social media tools and platforms have accentuated this, but it has always been a fundamental part of human behavior.
While marketing has traditionally looked at persuasion as something that happens as a brand-led dialogue with an individual, the reality is that peer-to-peer communications have a greater influence on attitudes and behavior. As such, the onus is on brands to understand how we interact as like-minded groups.
What does it mean for companies or brands to engage peer groups? Well for one, it means understanding who are the ideal peer groups or tribes to engage with. This is fundamentally different from identifying an individual target consumer, because it puts the idea of community at the strategic center of marketing plan development rather than as a tactical footnote. It also means that how people share ideas and information becomes a critical part of communication strategy development.
Questions we need to ask ourselves as we try to identify key opportunities for peer-to-peer communications include:
What are our customers’ community affiliations?
What like-minded groups can we connected with?
What community affiliations will make our brand most valuable to our customers?
What role can we play in our customers’ communities?