Whether we realize it or not, social norms have an immense impact on how individuals think, feel, and even make decisions. This is especially true now that social media has become increasingly integrated into our lives. We are always looking to see what other people are doing, where they’re going, and what they’re buying. For marketers, understanding the impact social pressure can have on our consumers since can help us increase their perception and intent to purchase our products. A great example of this is the Fitbit product line.
When this product first came out, it targeted consumers who wanted a healthier and more active lifestyle. While this is a commendable goal to have as an individual, what makes this goal more achievable is by having other people to support you in this journey. According to the American Society of Training and Development, people are 65% likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Another study also reported that 95% of those who started a work-out journey program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76 percent completion rate for those who tackled the program alone. So why is this important for marketers to know? If you understand that working out and maintaining an active lifestyle is best done with accountability partners you can leverage your customers to promote the product for you.
While you will always have those individuals who are completely independent and don’t get easily swayed by what’s most popular, some products have added benefits when used with other people. Knowing that Fitbit can be shared with other Fitbit members you can join group challenges, have friendly daily competitions, and hold your friends and family accountable for reaching their goals. The Fitbit craze took over and several people joined the bandwagon. Imagine, your entire family or group of coworkers all having one and you don’t? Talking about how many steps you took in a day became a normal topic of conversation. That social pressure started to increase as Fitbit gained in popularity. You could easily be part of the in-group or not, which can definitely impact how people view your product and decide if they want to purchase.
Overall, understanding your customers, what they value, and how they react to various social norms will help marketers understand how to best position their products. For Fitbit, there was a clear benefit to encouraging people in their network to purchase one as well, and that created a sense of community and belonging that increased interest in the product. Consequently, if you’re able to successfully communicate your product benefits and leverage social norms to entice your target audience, you can inspire not only a purchase but potentially a social movement like Fitbit did.