Your friend told you about a new trend of one sleeved shirts. That afternoon, you go to the mall and see one sleeved shirts all over the place. Then, you go out to dinner and see multiple ladies wearing one sleeved shirts. And then, wait, before going to bed you watch TV and see a model in a car commercial wearing a one sleeved shirt. Coincidence…or not?
This phenomenon of hearing about a product and then seeing it all over the place is referred to as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. This phenomenon is caused by two processes according to PS Mag: “The first, selective attention, kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea; after that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it surprisingly often. The second process, confirmation bias, reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence.”
This phenomenon is used quite frequently in the marketing world. Once a customer notices your brand, the company wants you to start seeing them “everywhere.” This could be done through sending personal emails, targeting ads based on the customer’s behavior, and creating a strong referral program. Repetition is key for this marketing technique as the product becomes, unknowingly, engraved into the customer’s brain and (somewhat of) a new fixation of people. What is really interesting as well is that people become unintentional ambassadors for a company through this phenomenon. This is because often people talk about this through word of mouth and often refer products to friends/family who are looking for a similar product.
So the next time you see a product “everywhere,” just think, is it really everywhere?
Sources: https://psmag.com/there-s-a-name-for-that-the-baader-meinhof-phenomenon-e5bf3ea87cd2#.dhrfuv7y9, https://www.damninteresting.com/the-baader-meinhof-phenomenon/, http://www.cidewalk.com/blog/i-guarantee-youre-going-to-hear-about-this-again