I read with great interest the Branding Strategy Insider discussion of Watts’s theory that “trends break out when they intersect with ‘a critical mass of easily influenced people.’”
Some years back, I worked on a political project that crafted an avant-garde, a cadre. The results are discussed here:
The intent was to form a group that would receive, amplify and transmit a message in the same way that a radio signal is propagated through the ionosphere. This approach implemented and melded both the General Opinion and Opinion Leader concepts. The network that we put together already was amenable to our message. Likely prospects were invited to attend talks and then were invited to provide contact information for more information and future events. The subsequent emails (or phone calls) at the very least contained talking points. Often — and increasingly so as election day approached — there was a call to action — provide the names and email addresses of like-minded family and friends and email/phone individuals in your personal circle who share the same ideas. In this way, the network was self-replicating with each of the members soon becoming the center of their own set of followers who were not in direct communication with the campaign.
From a distance, my impression is that Procter and Gamble does something very similar with their Tremor.