Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Tipping Point

"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" by Malcolm Gladwell explains how a simple idea, trend, or product can be transformed into a phenomenon.

As a hopefull future fashion PR professional, I truly enjoyed the analogy about Hush Puppies shoes (pg. 7) in the 1990s.

"Those kids (Manhattan teens) simply wore the shoes when they went to clubs or cafes or walked the streets of downtown New York, and in so doing exposed other people to their fashion sense. They infected them with the Hush Puppies 'virus.'"

The fashion industry is a fast paced world which can be defined as 'choatically predictable.' Old-school, vintage, and throw-back are all terms which are very 'in' right now. My mom refuses to get rid of her favorite clothing items from the 70s, 80s, and 90s because she is convinced "everything comes back around."

Left is a picture of me in one of her very cool tops from the 80s.

Transitioning from fashion trends, events are also possible to "tip."
The Georgia College Athletic Auction in April which I am planning with a team of my PR administration class, now, more than ever, needs to be tipped into an event doners talk about and look forward to all year.

So how can we make this event tip?

1. Create an experience for the guests in which makes them feel like important aspects to the success of our athletic program.
2. Free stuff!
3. Keep them entertained! Yes we want them to spend money, but we don't want them to get bored while waiting to find out which items they have won. Live music, great visuals and interactive entertainment can achieve this.

'The Law of Context' explained in "The Tipping Point" should also be taken into consideration during the planning on the auction.
The third of Gladwell's three laws says that "the context of a message can determine whether or not it tips." The law also says "these social epidemics can fail if the geographic location where they are introduced is wrong or if the current mental state of the population is not prepared for the message."

Our geographic location is right in this instance, but we must prepare our guests for the message or the event they are attending. Our theme "A Night with the Stars," is completely different than the more casual auction themes of the past years. We must convince them that change is good and set a standard for auction themes in the future.

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