Understanding the Psychology of ‘Likeonomics’

I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Rohit Bhargava, the author of “Likeonomics,” on what building up a brand was all about. Rohit shared his stories of how to earn trust, influence behavior, and inspire action. “Likeonomics” focuses on the five key principles of the TRUST formula and why some people and companies are more popular and “liked” than others.


During lunch we spoke about three themes – first, on keeping things personal; second, on being transparent about your business; and third, on making sure that your team works well together.

1. Keeping things personal. Many brands make the mistake of simply asking consumers to rank their product or service without asking specific questions about what was good or bad. You can create a greater impact if you encourage the consumer to respond to a targeted query versus an overall experience. Consumers like to read personal stories (as these keep them engaged) and will remember a story much better than your brand’s tag line. So use the story well!

2. Being transparent. If you are honest with your consumers about your company, product mix, and pricing, your customers will appreciate the honesty and in most instances will understand why they should do business with you and at what price. The web has made it much easier for consumers to figure out the true cost of products or services, so by being transparent, you are setting the tone for open communication.

3. Team chemistry. If your team works well together, this chemistry will be visible to your consumers. You can do this by making sure that your employees understand the overall goal of your company and what your marketing or social media program entails. Think of this as a practical, real-time vision statement that continues to generate real customer feedback.

After lunch, I purchased his book and here are two more (among many other) worthy snippets.

Rohit talks about four ways data can become meaningless. First, there is the statistical insignificance of claims that say that a product was recommended by seven out of 10 people. Second, there is the idea of wishful extrapolation by which data can be skewed. Next, there is the idea of inconclusive conclusions where you really cannot draw to a close. Finally, with all the data that we collect – there is a planning paralysis (of there being so much data), so what do you do? This sadly gets people to go back to what was done at the same time last year.

The last tip I would like to leave you with is the whole concept of simplicity. How can you ensure that your message is being understood? The consumer desperately seeks simplicity and expects you to use plain language that they can easily understand.

One of the easiest things you can do is to think about the specific reasons as to why someone should sign up for your social media program. Next, just see that you are meeting their needs.

Rohit has a Masters in English and told me that one of his most enjoyable courses was Irish poetry. He speaks incandescently about visiting Trinity University in Ireland and getting to touch and feel the books that are 400 years old. He is inspired by reading, and I was inspired by the simplicity of his messaging.

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