The idea of crowd psychology is nothing new. This branch of social psychology, often referred to as ‘mob psychology’ has for more than a century looked at the way in which the thinking of a crowd differs from the psychology of the individuals within it. Many might have thought that crowd psychology had reached its peak of relevance with the mass movements of the last century. However, this staple of social psychology can be utilised to look at behaviour today, with ICO marketing being one such topic we can approach with crowd psychology insights.

Why do individuals engage with the unknown?

To begin, we need to consider why a person might engage with and invest their own time and money in an ICO project in the first place. Namely, we need to think about why someone would engage with such an endeavour with so many unknowns involved. For a start, we need to acknowledge that the individual may overlook many uncertainties by focusing on the ‘greater good’ at work behind an ICO. More than this, the individual wants to become part of a larger community, one defined by entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, the individual wants to get behind something innovative, whether it’s a new and revolutionary product or service in its application, or something that will bring about significant change and demonstrates real value to society at large.

There’s also more obvious reasons behind an individual willing to engage. For one, the crowd convinces the individual by associating quantifiable factors of the campaign, such as rewards. Additionally, an individual may simply connect to the visuals and creative elements of a campaign.

Utilising crowd psychology to market an ICO more effectively

To make best use of crowd psychology insights, first you have to dispense with more traditional concepts. One of these outgoing conventions is target group segmentation. As a general rule in marketing, it’s said in order to best meet specific needs of your market, you need to first narrow down your potential customer base. When it comes to an ICO, the initial audience is potentially the entire worldwide population, but this is far from the same thing as a crowd that can be effectively utilised. However, crowds and their behaviours have proven advantageous to ICOs in the past. The most successful ICO marketing strategies not only take note of the crowd and its usefulness, but actively create a crowd and initiate crowd behaviour, before carefully directing that behaviour in directions that will ultimately prove beneficial to the token sale phase.

Understanding the steps of successful ICO marketing

If you approach ICO marketing with the ultimate goal to convince someone to buy tokens, it’s useful to break down the process into several distinct steps across three phases. The first phase, which covers the period of time before a request is made, is arguably the most important one. For a start, you need to form an enticing image and shape perception in the mind of your target audience, bringing the mindset and attitudes of your audience in line with your own. You also want to be triggering social pressure, while also ensuring they are acclimatised to your overall message.

The next phase, the request stage, is much more simple in its direction. This is where you optimise your marketing message and really steer things toward a successful request by driving momentum of your prospective customers. The final phase, the stage after the request has been made, is easy. Here, you simply need to sustain the interest and compliance of those who’ve taken the bait and bit. It might seem exhaustive to think about marketing in such a piecemeal way, but it’s crucial in ensuring long-term success. If you are only thinking about communication with crowds in regards to the token request itself, you’re onto a losing streak already. The market isn’t sitting around and waiting for you and your specific product.

Key things to consider when utilising social psychology in ICO marketing

When it comes to carrying out the daily activities of your ICO, you don’t need to worry about actively doing much at all. However, you do want to actively compare your actions and output to the following factors that are key areas of interest if you’re looking to deploy crowd psychology as part of your ICO.

Captivate the crowd with something to focus on

Firstly, you need to remember that crowds need something to actually fixate on. Crowds aren’t impartial and patient. They’re quick to act with impulse and have knee-jerk reactions. It’s important not to think about the crowd as if it were a genuine human being in an everyday sales environment. You’re looking to convince the crowd that you’ve a worthwhile idea that they should be onboard with. You’re looking to tell them to come along for the ride if they’re interested, but you’re also not interested in bringing along the half-enthused and indecisive.

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Pack an emotional punch

Adding emotional weight to your ICO marketing campaign is a sure-fire way of feeding the crowd with the fuel it hungers for. One effective way to tie a group of individuals together is to utilise emotional ties, with the big-hitters like love, loyalty and fear all sure to seal a disparate rabble into a bonded group. Stir up emotional responses in the right way, however. When it comes to fuelling a campaign with fear, only do so as you discuss what a sorry state of affairs it is that your product is yet to be in use in the world. Get the crowd to fall in love with your team with profiles that stir up deep feelings of sympathy. Create a sense of loyalty with the crowd by talking about how only they can bring a project to fruition and change the world.

Moderate discussion, don’t go into detail

You also need to make a very clear distinction about what constitutes everyday discussion and something more in-depth. You certainly want to be driving discussion between those following your campaign, but you need to ensure such discussion is moderated before it becomes involved discourse. Devil’s in the detail? Crowd attention certainly isn’t. Once the crowd gets behind something and believes in it, they don’t need to be dealt heaps of information to stay sustained. You don’t want to make a habit of dumping information for the sake. Rather, you want to be focusing on maintaining that level of belief in your followers. Assess all the marketing collateral you’ve currently got loaded in the chamber. Does it promote a message that will inspire your audience to believe in you? If not, get rid of it and replace with something that will.

Don’t rationalise with reason

There’s also no need to apply too much reason when selling the virtues of your ICO. People don’t mind acting on impulse sometimes. It’s part and parcel to being human, so you don’t need to worry about rationalising your message to a responsible audience. If you were in fact dealing with a largely rational population, you’d find the pool of potential investors very, very thin on the ground.

React to change swiftly and effectively

It’s crucial to remember that change is a thing. Crowds are no different. When this change happens, whatever the context, you need to be reactive and respond as quickly as possible. There are some things you can’t change, of course, but most of your arsenal can fluctuate along with the crowd. Foundation things like your white paper and mission statement are pretty much locked in for the long haul, but your messaging and online channels can be doctored to resonate with your audience. Don’t be afraid to adapt quickly and regularly if needed. You only have a short window of time when it comes to an ICO and if you do indeed need to adapt, do so. Waiting around to reorient isn’t just costly to an ICO, it’s deadly.

Ties that bind

Crowds have a herd mentality, but most crowds have a handful of individuals within them that tend to steer overall behaviour. Identify these influencers within the crowd as quickly as you can, engaging them swiftly so you can generate a leading emotion to push things in the direction you want. On the topic of emotive responses, think about how communities are formed by shared experience. That shared experience from a common event is what will lock that community together with lasting effect. Don’t just wait around for an event to happen. Create one and you’ll have a bound community sooner.

Let the crowd bear witness to the birth of something new

The crowd also needs to be further convinced of the credentials of your product as the ICO unfolds. This needs to be more than what you’ve laid out in your white paper. You’ve already taken advantage of the audience appetite to be involved in the next big thing and stirred emotion by stating how your product needs to be realised for the greater good. What the crowd then needs to see is the delivery of something wholly new during the ICO.

Keep it light when communicating

It’s important to maintain good lines of communication, but when it comes to delivering bad news, make sure your tone is on point. Keep it light when having to translate news people would rather not hear. It won’t just take the sting out of what’s being said, but it can also endear you further to an audience. Worried about what others are saying? Rumour control is important. However, this doesn’t mean you want to be thinking about jumping on rumours as they surface and shooting them down. Rather you want to consider creating your own buzz.

Make it an easy choice with minimised risk

If you want a sure-fire way convincing the indecisive to jump aboard, remind potential investors you’ll reimburse any capital laid down if you don’t reach targets. When you promise this, investors see how they can’t lose. What’s more, you can still drive a crisis toward the end of the ICO to generate solidarity and get your crowd rallied behind a common goal. Also, when it comes to numbers, be specific. Ditch general talk of half a percent and use numerical digits instead. It’s not because people will be demanding statistics correct to the decimal point, rather it creates a comforting sense of reassurance.

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Let the crowd create

Building upon the idea of the crowd being involved in something new, you can encourage those rallied behind an ICO to actively create elements of the company. You’re not giving over full creative control to the general market, however. Keep it simple with simple contests and consider dishing out rewards for feedback requests. It’ll keep the crowd engaged and, should you be fronted with a good idea, you can utilise the crowd as an effective creative resource.

In the past, economic momentum has been driven by institutions like the government. These institutions are sometimes referred to as the core, with a defining characteristic that they’re run by professionals and locked out from the general populace. The crowd represents the antithesis of the core.

Defining attributes of the crowd are its decentralised nature and its largely uncontrolled behaviour. Unlike the core where everything is carefully engineered with vocational experience, the crowd is a more chaotic and unruly concept. However, the problems that befell the crowd are largely being resolved now.

In the past, many psychologists have sought to prove the crowd is in fact more desirable than the core. One often cited example of the core versus the crowd in real life is the varying successes of communism versus western capitalism. The first represents a centralised entity with pre-planning at its centre, while the latter is a decentralised concept, where development takes the place of planning. As we can see from the events of the twentieth-century and the fate of communist states, the crowd wins out.

The crowd vs. the individual

First, we need to look at someone as an individual and consider their individual attributes. When they are acting as a solitary entity, they place chief priority on their own concerns and interests. They also act to advance their own interests. This is responsible behaviour, with sound judgement and reaction to the world around them. When an individual participates with a crowd, they are demonstrating a degree of selflessness right off the bat. With selfishness ditched for the most part, they are more likely to exhibit irrational thought and behave irresponsibly.

Other psychologists argue that the individual, when part of a crowd, behaves just as though an individual would do under a state of hypnosis. When glamoured into this hypnotic state, the individual is highly susceptible to suggestion and will do things they would never comprehend doing ordinarily. In fact, once the individual has been fully enveloped by the crowd, they will begin to readily devour and embrace concepts without question. They will accept simply because they are told to and find themselves looking to fulfil needs never present before as an individual.

Other things to consider

Express some guided thinking when it comes to ICO marketing. When considering those customers out to buy tokens to actively use, you want to instil the virtues of tokens in that respect. For those out to buy tokens as an investment tool, you want to bring home the benefits of how they can be used to effectively invest. You also want to generally align your marketing message with what the customer is thinking. Paint out the perks of your product with scenarios shared by the customer to indicate just how useful and relevant your product is to them. Finally, remember you’re not looking to sell to overly sceptical individuals with a suspicious outlook on ICOs. This is not your market. Your market is one filled with people looking to engage and take a risk. They don’t need convincing about the basic principles, just why your product is the best way to go.

Final thoughts

You only need look at the cryptographic sector today and the legions of individuals herded together to see these theories in practice. Although it’s a market offering big gains with substantiated claims, it’s still a realm that’s largely intangible where individuals are ripe for exploitation. Nonetheless, millions are actively engaging with ICOs and the blockchain on a daily basis. Crowd psychology has been an insightful reference to explain mob mentality in the past and, as we continue on into a new era of enterprise, it can be utilised to effectively market ICOs and steer them to success.

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