WHAT IS HERD?
HERD started as a label for everything social about human behaviour - a research “bucket” if you like - for the “hidden truths“* of fundamentally social nature of our curious species and the fundamentally social context that shapes our behaviour.
In essence, HERD is a synthesis of the work of social scientists in a number of different fields (primatology, anthropology, archaeology, network theory, sociology, economics & cultural evolution) mixed together with management and marketing science and my own professional experience of more than two decades, trying to understand and shape mass behaviour.
I first used the term HERD publically in March 2003 in an award-winning conference paper which challenged many of the core assumptions of advertising, marketing and market research professionals way of seeing the world and proposed a realignment of these disciplines around the idea of humans being fundamentally social creatures.
Soon enough, HERD was a book (John Wiley & Sons 2007/2009) which a lot of people read (and many said nice things about) then more articles, more speeches and more prizes. But in the last few years, it has become both a consulting business and a mainstream way of thinking about human behaviour for many marketing, advertising and research professionals as well as for those working in politics, public policy and security.
HERD started in the pre-Facebook world (Mark Zuckerberg was still in High School) but has only become more relevant in our attempts to make sense of the human behaviour in the modern post-Facebook world.
*well, not so hidden, more ignored really.