Social norms vs market norms

Here in India, we’re still in stage 2 of coronavirus and by the way, if you’re thinking this is just another article on coronavirus update then, you’re wrong buddy! News and social media are already handling that part effectively. I’m not interested in that.

Rather, as a concerned citizen, I’m writing this piece to share a great piece of knowledge and insight on how you (and me) can choose social norms over market norms.

So, what’s this social norm? Let me explain with you an easy example.

Let’s say you are doing a market research project on dairy shops near you so you can understand how they grow their business, how much profit they earn, at what margin they sell their product and so on.

Now, as any other researcher, you have two choices:

#1: You can ask them for a voluntary help i.e social norm or

#2: You can pay them some money to share some of their business insights.

Choice two is what we call, the market norm.

In case #1: you’re just asking them to help you without giving them any instant paycheck or offer. No reciprocity required immediately. It’s more of touching a community need.

On the other hand, when you introduce any quick benefits in the form of money or even beforehand gifts then you’re in a transaction with the other person. It’s more like “you get what you pay for”.

Once market norms enter within social norms, the behaviour of people changes dramatically.

In the above example, if you reach out to people by asking for community help, you might get a better response than if you reach out by offering them instant benefits.

Social norms can trigger deep human seed to “giving back to the community”. But market norms can lighten your ego, pretty easily.

So, what social norms have to do with today's scenario?

See, I’m assuming if you’re reading this blog, you might be at your home, in quarantine far away from social distancing. Kudos to you, if you’re following WHO guidelines.

But the thing is, we really don't have any idea what 's gonna happen in the next couple of months. And as we have already witnessed the pandemic situation in Italy, Iran and China. It’s getting worse day by day.

Today, we have only one goal in our mind: to live. To live so we can achieve our goal. To live so we can spend some time with our friends and family.

My friend, this is an opportunity to make a difference in others' lives by going with the social norms. Even if we're disconnected, we can still support our community, nearby businesses and those who are sitting in isolation.

Let’s show some generosity, care and empathy towards those around you. You can start by setting up a WhatsApp group for your community sharing helpful covid-19 updates from credible sources, once or twice a day.

Or you can start helping your nearest small business by buying a gift card for future bookings. When their restaurant gets reopened.

So on my part, I’m trying to help as many startups/ businesses/ individuals as I can with my marketing knowledge and expertise, by giving me 1 hour of my time, without expecting a penny from their side.

I would love to help you! Here’s the link to book a 30-minutes call with me:

Yes, I am not taking full projects right now, but I will try to help you as much as I could to grow you or your business.

Feel free to book a call. It’s free but not cheap. No obligations or anything!


Doing just a small favour from your side is extremely important for resilience. We’re having a real opportunity in front of us to touch people's lives.

It’s time to show some social responsibility. It’s time to be human.

My question to you: Why not use this golden opportunity to make a difference? What say?

Over to you :)

P: +91-9971747773 |

© 2020 by Harkirat Singh