Entourage EffectOpen Access

Entourage Effect

Our status is elevated when we share our VIP treatment

Though scarcity increases something’s value and therefore its owner’s status, allowing the sharing of access to privileges with a wider group leads to an even higher level of status for the ‘gatekeeper’.

McFerran, B., & Argo, J. J. (2013). The entourage effect. Journal of Consumer Research.

The study

Setup

54 American football fans were offered the chance to watch their team from a luxury suite for the game and, if present, could bring along a friend (i.e. an entourage) for the experience. 17 had a friend to bring, but 37 didn’t. After, all fans were asked about their feelings of status.

Results

Results showed those sharing the experience with friends rated their status much higher than those who were alone.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Permit guests to enhance status.

If you wish to make a VIP feel truly special,  grant them the ability to share some, if not all, of their benefits with their friends. Doing so will create a powerful sense of social prestige for the VIP that far exceeds the joy felt from the scarcity of their benefits.

Takeaway image

See the VIP as a group, not a person. 

What group-specific social benefits can you provide in your programme?  

Also make sure that the VIP understands that they are the gatekeeper to such benefits and the entourage is clearly subordinate with Access contingent on the VIP’s presence.

Takeaway image

Communicate the rules up front.

When granting special group benefits to a VIP, there may be times when this special social contract is broken. Therefore, it's key to respectfully state your rules with justification beforehand (Habel et al., 2017). This will highlight the two-way, trust-based nature of the relationship and remind the VIP (and group) how to behave to keep their elevated Status

Takeaway image
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Entourage Effect

Entourage Effect

Our status is elevated when we share our VIP treatment

Though scarcity increases something’s value and therefore its owner’s status, allowing the sharing of access to privileges with a wider group leads to an even higher level of status for the ‘gatekeeper’.

The study

Setup

54 American football fans were offered the chance to watch their team from a luxury suite for the game and, if present, could bring along a friend (i.e. an entourage) for the experience. 17 had a friend to bring, but 37 didn’t. After, all fans were asked about their feelings of status.

Results

Results showed those sharing the experience with friends rated their status much higher than those who were alone.

study graph
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