Leaders want to stand out. They want to separate themselves from other leaders, their coworkers, and their predecessors. It’s helpful for leaders to remember, however, the importance of fitting in with the group and the power of social contagion.
In order to maintain our social bonds, we mimic others. We buy what they buy, watch what they watch, and talk like they talk. It’s a matter of not wanting to be left behind or left out entirely. Take, for instance, the word “curate”. Curated consumption has fully taken root, and it seems that anyone and everyone is now a curator. No, there hasn’t been a huge museum boom, but we now see exhibits where we once saw products and programs.
Leaders often start trends, but they run the risk of social ostracism if they break too far or too fast from the group. Whom do you mimic, and why? How might you use social contagion to boost your brand?