Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Review: Tipping Point

As our August book club read we decided to shake up the reading list with a little non-fiction and chose to do Tipping Point. And wouldn’t you know it…There’s a match on the cover so we ran with the match theme and had brunch at Matchbox in Eastern Market.

Nothing like sipping fruit infused cocktails and wolfing down Fire and Smoke pizza while discussing trends. And no, not just those in Fashion.

Clearly written as a business treatise on how to tap into the culture market for your product or service, this book actually applies to more than just the marketing world. The take away message is to follow Malcolm’s rules of trend setting: create a message that is “sticky”, framed in and during the appropriate context and delivered to one or all of these personalities: the connector, maven or salesperson. Do this and you will set up a wildfire of buzz and adoption. Well if this helps you sleep at night Cooperate America – Fabulous! The rest of us will keep our night light on with a notepad on the nightstand.

For a journalist writing this book, he did a bang up job for slapping together some interviews and a few case studies to illustrate his point. You see, according to Malcolm - Sesame Street, Hush Puppies, NYC crime in the 90s, and STDs in Baltimore coming and going all fit seamlessly into the steps mentioned above.

Well I call bunk. What I found frustrating about this book, was not the theory itself, these sticky messages and particular personalities and time frames all seem to be contributing factors, but the author deems them the MAIN factors for setting off A MAJORITY of trend storms. I wish he would have been a little clearer about the factors being relevant really only to these 5 cases.

But it was an interesting new way to think about communication in general. Which is why I think it’s so applicable to most professions. How just changing a word in your advertisement or communication can grab someone’s attention, and pass information; or an impression like cleaning up graffiti can create a movement and lower crime. But the most personal analysis was in the Law Of The Few or personality conduits – people who are responsible for spreading information quickly, particularly connectors: Connectors are people with a special gift of bringing the world together through their people – through their connections. I have found my niche in the world – I am a connector.

And as much as I criticized the book – I can’t help but tell everyone I know about it – almost daily!

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