How Hype Marketing Works With Our Brain & Brand?
The ups and downs a hype brings to a brand & the way it affects our mind to think & make decisions.
Someone once said to me: “If I’m too much involved or active on the internet, I am easily distracted by what new technology people around me are using/liking without even thinking why and how it will benefit me”.
Somehow I completely resonate with them. If there’s something everyone is doing or talking about and I’m not in that bubble, it’s easy for me to have a FOMO. I initially felt a lot about it with NFTs, crypto and web3. I don’t understand it, so I felt left out. Until I started to care less about them and understand if they are worth my time.
In fact, there are so many brands — Notion, Clubhouse, OnDeck, Substack, Launchouse, Metaverse, etc. — to study around how they build hype and make us believe they are the next big thing but underneath they are heavily marketed by story and people.
With the point to sell the imagination and make things look cool through design, they market and position themselves around initial users/customers. Once they are successful, initial users will help boost the hype. This is why we use Medium instead of regular WordPress blogs, and Substack instead of Mailchimp because they are cool.
After analysing a lot of brands and startups, the majority of founders build hype through their personal networks first. In my mind, ClubHouse is the newest example that was able to build hype because the founders took leverage of their connections with VCs & founders which initiated hype.
How does Hype manipulate our Brain?
It directly affects our judgments and decision-making as it shows the fabricated image. Though, not all hype created by brands is bad.
Let me tell you about a brand that build hype but didn’t work for them:
You might have heard a lot about this one-click checkout startup called Fast.co which shut down in April this year.
Well, this startup, for me, wasn’t interesting as a technology but the way they talk about themselves, tell their story and create social media content is what caught my attention. In fact, they were very open about hiring in public, the team was very engaging on social media, transparent and always had active marketing campaigns.
“If any startup is cool at this point in time, they are.” That’s what I heard in early 2020.
But I see more merchant content (their swag hoodies) than the technology they create. This made people think how cool this startup is, with little to no knowledge about what’s within the company.
Here’s a quote from one of the campaigns with NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman that help them sell 50,000 hoodies in ~12 hours. “…people are having me sign their Fast hoodies or simply yelling the word “Fast,” … so with the massive hoodie promotion … I will be signing Fast hoodies for the rest of my life.”
In the end, the hype gave them a ton of attention, press and funding (which was in millions & one of them was fromStripe). But the problem with them was the way they were positioning or telling the story about the product. They promoted a story to build hype, raise money & dreams with a product that had no traction.
The other hot thing in the market is Metaverse.
Mapping out how Metaverse got its light when Facebook changed to Meta, a survey showed more than 68% of adultswere “Not Interested” in the concept of Metaverse. It drive more influence and attention when prominent people started talking about it.
So what you see on the billboards is not always the reality.
What’s your stand on something comes only after you think without being influenced by others’ decisions, which is hard to happen today because we spend most of our time on the internet that keeps selling us a different story.
So if you have to build hype, what would you do?
Tell the true story and make the product as expected before the moment people start hearing about it.
Hype is a great way to market your product. If people are genuinely enjoying your product and they are talking about it, you’ll see the results not only with engagement around it but also with the number of paying customers.
Here are the 3 steps thing to do, taking Notion as an example:
- Making users use the product the way they want AKA creating templates for personal & business use and giving them more power to discover new ways to use it.
- Then make sure users talk about how they use it or how they build a business around it AKA selling templates or creating a personal profile which looks like a landing page.
- Lastly, being the best storyteller and marketing their product which leads to market Notion itself.
I’ll reiterate a point: Hype is made by storytelling and making things look cool — and more like conversational marketing. Suppose something is made in Silicon Valley and everyone there is using it, makes it look like super cool and immediately drives a point that everyone will be using it.
Storytelling has a massive impact on building hype. In fact, if you start working on narrating the story from the early stage of development, people often find themselves connected to the brand and engage with the content.
To Build hype for your product you need to be strategic, but you also need to be smart.
Just because a technology is being hyped doesn’t mean it’s revolutionary. Same way, if your startup suddenly got hype doesn’t mean it’s all success. Keep an eye on the hype factor for your startup and make sure if it’s serving you right.
A good hype will increase the attention that converts a user into loyal and paying customers and eventually help your product to grow. But if you’re raising funds and investing more in hype marketing and seeing little to no sign of MRR, you’re suffering from “Bad” hype syndrome.
Hype builds up enthusiasm and over-expectation that leads to disappointment because people realize it’s harder than they thought and start all over again.
Thanks for reading.
👋 PS: Ritika is a founder, product marketer and advisor for early stage startups, find more here or connect with her here. If you’re a first time founder looking for curated resources, download here. If you enjoyed this post, read the past issues here.