How the music industry gamified social proof

If you grew up when MTV was still a music channel you’ll remember that many music videos were recorded at live concerts… except that they weren’t. Nine out of ten of them we’re in filmed studios in a way which made things look bigger than they were. Clever camera work that looked like the band was already a big thing, when many times, the band was a new thing. It was a brilliant method to gamify social proof that this band rocked! Just take a look at these famous music videos:

Walk this way

Living on a prayer

Wake me up before you Go Go

All of them filmed in studios for bands who weren’t big yet. It’s a very important part of selling anything new, especially a startup. We need to create the perception that others think this ‘thing’ is terrific. We are a social species, and we rely on our social nature as a survival mechanism, and so social proof is one of the most powerful tools we need to build into promoting anything. Blurbs, Stars, Reviews, Fans, Shares, Likes, Hearts, Testimonials.

And before you ask, gaming social proof like the music industry does, is not misleading, it’s necessary. Anything we’ve ever done as a species has at some point required someone to paint a picture of what could be, not what is. We are simply pre-empting the future reality. And unless what we are selling lives up the gamified social proof, it won’t last anyway.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.