Product Marketing with Monkey See, Monkey Do

Product Marketing with Monkey See, Monkey Do 3 min read

Ever wonder why the Apple icon is upside down to the person using the computer? If I those “I Voted” stickers actually increase the number of people who go to the polls? If a tip jar is empty — is a person more or less likely to tip? All of these questions can be answered with the old adage — Monkey See, Monkey Do.


The truth is — People often imitate those around them.


The “I Voted” stickers did increase the number of people who went to the polls and you are more likely to tip when the jar has something in it. The Apple logo on the back of the computer is placed like that so that people not using the computer can see what brand it is. When you notice that Apple logo, you first look at the computer and then the person. The simple mannerisms and appearance of that person may lead you to form a whole new idea of what Apple actually represents. You may be more inclined to actually go out and buy one. Apple took something Private and made it Public. They created brand advocates, without people actually knowing they’re a walking advertisement. This simple advertising method increases public visibility and observability. People are watching and learning.


We assume that if someone else is enjoying a product, then it might also be enjoyable for us. If they’re doing it — it must be a good idea! The pack mentality here, an unseemingly innate reaction, drives us to want to imitate others. They might know something we don’t. I don’t want to miss out, do you??


Pushing assumptions about a brand into the public sphere will  keep the conversation going. If your product is hidden and looks like every other one — then it’s likely going to blend in and no one will notice. In order to succeed, you will need to take something private and make it public. The more public the action, the more people will be likely to use it.


A great example of this is the Movember campaign. They took something that is normally very private and made it public which increased awareness and generated nearly $174 million in revenue for 2013.


Successful products will remain visible, shareable and promote imitation.


The Dare anti-drug campaign has the misfortune of figuring this lesson out the hard way. The campaign took something private, drug use, and made it public. Even though most kids likely hadn’t given it much thought, Dare implied that drug usage was actually something other people were doing. The music industry tried to do the same thing with telling people not to download music illegally. Both of these actually increased the action that they were trying to prevent.


If you want to prevent people from doing something, don’t imply that everyone is doing it. The status quo could hurt more than help.


If you take away anything from this article it should be this:

  1. Make your product visible to everyone
  2. Ensure that it’s easy to share it (when appropriate)
  3. Use social behavior to increase behavioral residue. They used (and liked) it — so should you.
  4. Focus on the positive effects of using your product, not the negative. The latter may lead to an unintended consequence.



This article is part of our series of Why People Share Your Content.

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