The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon – To understand and influence large crowds through branding
Though written in 1895, Gustave Le Bon’s The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (Psychologie de Foules) is an insight into the psychology of crowds that is highly influential and relevant to this day. Within the crowd, says Le Bon, the individual submerges and becomes part of a collective mind – led no longer by intellect, but emotion. This lesson – one of many found in a book that influenced not only the likes of Freud and Edward Bernays, but prominent public influencing techniques too – has a lot to teach anyone involved in branding. Le Bon shows how perceptions can be shaped through metaphor, imagery and words, and how identical words can have different meaning for different social groups. In the internet age, the ability to create, build and influence large crowds is more actionable than ever. And for anyone looking to build a loyal following around their brand, that makes this book an essential read.