In his multi-million selling book, The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell
discusses the role of mavens, connectors and sales people. He puts forward a case that for something to ‘tip’, meaning to get big, to become popular, to achieve mass success, it requires the input, somewhere along the line, of three different personality types, a maven, a connector or a sales person.
According to Gladwell, Connectors are the people who "link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together." They are "a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances". These individuals enjoy large social networks of over one hundred people. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to "their ability to span many different worlds [… as] a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy."
Mavens, he suggests, are "information specialists", or "people we rely upon to connect us with new information."
They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others. The author cites Mark Alpert as a prototypical Maven. A man who is "almost pathologically helpful", further adding, "he can't help himself". Alpert not only gathers information on the best prices and deals on a mass of different products, his biggest kick comes from telling people that information. Helping them.
He puts in all the work and then revels in the joy of giving the information to others. He rewards himself by giving something he worked for, without pay. In this vein, Alpert himself concedes, "A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people's problems, generally by solving his own".
Due to their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate, Mavens are able to spread valuable information and this can be pivotal in starting epidemics.
Salesmen are "persuaders", charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them. Gladwell talks about a superstar salesman called Tom Gau who, as Gladwell observed for himself, had an inbuilt ability to get people to like him.
The way he would talk to people, the way he would listen to them, the minute aspects of his body language toward people, his timing, his posture, his genuine personality were what made Gau the incredible sales person. He was able to sell because he understood the inherent secret that our friend the dog possesses in spades; we get what we want/need by first understanding and giving what someone else desires.
It's for these reasons, I must declare that the dog is the greatest sales animal in the history of the animal world and the reason why so many companies and brands like to deliver their message via man's best friend.
Don’t believe me?
Think about how many times you see dogs in advertising
. How many times have you seen dogs used in commercials designed to sell products or services that have absolutely nothing to do with dogs?
Paint. Cars. Toilet roll. Insurance. Food. The list could span virtually every consumer product or service. The dog is used more than any other animal in advertising. Why? Because us simple folk have an inbuilt switch that makes us feel trust, endearment, joy, integrity, fun, loyalty, honesty, adoration and all manner of other positive emotional connections when we see a Labrador ‘telling us’ to buy a certain brand of toilet paper as opposed to a slick sales pitch from one of our own kind. The connection between the advertising industry, harnessing thousands of years of canine domestication, to sell us things was no accident.
People like dogs. And even those people who don’t, there is still an inherent association with the animal’s ability to convey positive personality traits. We DO associate dogs with acts of immense bravery. We do association dogs with loyalty. We do associate dogs with human traits such as honesty and integrity. We can’t help it, and the reason is…because dogs possess those traits in spades.