The Bandwagon Effect In Advertising: How Our Strong Sense of Belonging Can Increase Sales

Thanks to our academic careers from K-12, you’ve probably heard of these terms:

  • The Band Geeks
  • The Jocks
  • The Popular Kids
  • The Mean Girls
  • Theater Kids
  • “Emo” Kids
  • Fraternities
  • Sororities

Quick question: What do all of these nicknames have in common?

They’re all social groups.

Sure, that may seem obvious.  But most of us severely underestimate the importance of social groups and how it can transform your sales in business.

For example:

Did you know that our ancestors depended on social groups for survival?

That’s right.  Whether it was hunting, or migrating, or even fighting off other groups, our ancestors understood that sticking together in close groups was the key to survival.

Now, times may have changed during the present, but the concept is still the same.  Since the beginning of time, we humans have an irresistible, psychological need to belong to some social group.  This explains why some of us end up in memberships, street gangs, or even book clubs.

The 3 Types Of Groups

According to psychologists, there are 3 main groups types of groups that every social group can be categorized in:

  1. Aspirational – These are the groups that everyone aspires, or would like to be a part of.
  1. Associative – These groups share your specific ideals and values.  Your realistic belonging.
  2. Dissociative – This is the group that you don’t want to be a part of.

Okay, So…What Does This Have To Do With Sales?

If you link your product or service to any of these three groups, you can persuade your target audience to buy from you based on the groups they choose to (or not choose to) identify with!

For example:

  • You may be [ Associative ], but if you want to experience these benefits and be [ Aspirational ], you’ve gotta try out this product.  Otherwise, you could end up like [ Dissociative ].


  • Most people are [ Associative ], but not me.  I was [ Dissociative ] and life sucked.  It wasn’t until I tried this service, that I finally became [Aspirational]…

You get the point.

This my friend, is what Stec and Bernstein and their Consensus-Implies-Correctness heuristic refer to as… “The Bandwagon Effect.”  

According to Eric Whitman’s book, Cashvertising, Whitman writes that The Bandwagon Effect is when “a large enough group holds a favorable opinion about a product, then that product must be correct” (42).

If you can convince an entire group of people that your product or service is worth its value, be prepared for cash to start pouring in from sales!
Check out JD for more tips and tricks on high-converting copywriting.

2 thoughts on “The Bandwagon Effect In Advertising: How Our Strong Sense of Belonging Can Increase Sales

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