Why Inertia Is Your Toughest Competitor

A little after 4pm last Monday, an ear-shattering siren sounded in Terminal C of Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport, just as I was arriving to my gate area to return home. 

This wasn't an elementary-school fire alarm signal. It was an air-raid-like blast, complete with flashing lights, and an occasional garbled PA announcement that no one could discern. 

And yet—as you'll see from the video above—no one moved. Some barely looked up from their smartphones or tablets. Most were merely annoyed by the noise. 

Instead of displaying "if you see something, say something" urgency, the default response was merely "meh." (Even though, you'd suspect, that an airport would be a high-value target.) 

Sociologists might refer to this as the psychology of crowds—the tendency to move or act in accordance with everyone around you. 

But for communicators and marketers, the bellowing horn blasts another warning: More than ever, it's easier for people do NOTHING rather than something in our distraction-filled world. 

Inertia is your organization's toughest competitor.