Bandwagon Effect

So, I had an encounter that was a first of its kind in many ways. Starting off with the latest trends, she had COVID some time back and recovered well. The wordplay game over texting was so enticing that we ended up meeting in just a few hours. It was not just about the chemistry but there was a sense of surprising familiarity right from the moment I sat in her car. It was a feeling that I had known her for years. Our bodies felt like long-lost magnets, and they just couldn’t get enough of each other.

Anyway, coming to the MBA concept of the ‘Bandwagon Effect‘ taught in one of the introductory courses of microeconomics. It is a phenomenon whereby the rate of uptake of beliefs, ideas, trends increases with respect to the proportion of others who have already done so. As more people come to believe in something, others also “hop on the bandwagon” regardless of the underlying evidence.

The image to the left is one example of an advertisement using the bandwagon effect. To get people’s attention, Nike says that “everyone” is buying their products. This ad highlights the cognitive idea of availability heuristics which, states that whatever is most available in your mind will be used to make judgments. Nike’s suggestion that everyone has their products will influence the consumers’ perspective because the information that is available to them is telling them that if they want to fit in, they should purchase their products.

Investing and financial markets can be especially vulnerable to bandwagon effects because not only will the same kind of social, psychological, and information economizing factors occur, but additionally the prices of assets tend to rise as more people jump on the bandwagon. The dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, the housing market bubble of 2008-09, and the subsequent crashes all were prompted by the bandwagon effect. 

The bandwagon effect can be used to draw crucial insights in the context of modern-day dating. The rapid adoption of dating apps despite serious initial apprehensions in most of the sane minds was fueled by the bandwagon effect. It was the initial peer pressure that got them on the platform and the addictive dopamine bursts from the apps make them stick around. This tendency of people to align their beliefs and behaviors with those of a group is also called a herd mentality.

Also, you might be a great person; honest, funny; humble. kind et al, but in most cases, your elevator pitch won’t be made by you. It will be made by your social image; the mutual friends, colleagues, and most importantly your social media profile. It is based on the principle of social proof and then has a halo effect (when one impression is used to make an overall judgment) on your subsequent interactions.

This is one of the rare benefits of social media; you can use it astutely to portray yourself as whatever you want by filtering out the other aspects. If used sharply, it acts as a great tool for pull marketing and helps in bringing down the lead time considerably. You need to come off as a fun, social person whose company is enjoyed by others. Especially if you are a guy, being seen with other girls helps in portraying a stronger BATNA. But don’t overdo it, otherwise, it might backfire.

I try to portray myself as an exuberant, nonchalant, iconoclastic guy to disassociate myself from the typical Indian image of the IIT IIM pedigree. That combined with a brief skimming of this site, makes me one of the worst bets for something substantial. I mean over a decade of dating with nothing lasting for longer than a few days indicates the obvious (words<actions<patterns). If she still decides to invest time in me, it’s on her.

That brings me to the first COVID recovered date. So, is this it? Is this the familiarity I had been missing? Has my body finally found its magnet? Is this the first that’ll last?

Well, she works in London with a globally leading bank and is an NRI. She was back in India to visit her family post her COVID recovery. She left back for London and I am not a subscriber of the long-distance relationship philosophy. Coming back to the first though, I hadn’t made out in the car in broad daylight or torn off the bedsheet due to the sheer rigor.

Later, Sidhant

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