“We desperately need a ‘fence around us’” to feel safe in these bad economic times warns Buyology author, Martin Lindstrom. Appealing to our fears is a successful way to sell, Lindstrom discovered from his brain-based, three-year, $7 million study. Many of the products that are pitched at us activate the brain’s fear center, the amygdale. Examples:
“Are you afraid of not being able to pay the school fees for your kids?”
“Are you concerned about losing your retirement money?”
Watch how these products are sold:
• refrigerators which can store tons of foods
• quantity buys at certain discount stores
• fuel efficient heating products
• clothes with multiple functionalities; less fashionable yet more practical
• “how-to-products” for living well on less
The limbic or emotional part of our brain can motivate us more than the rational. Knowing that, we can guard against impulsive, less smart choices. Example: Psychologists asked students to choose between two Amazon.com gift vouchers. They could get either use a $15 gift voucher immediately or wait two weeks and use a $20 gift certificate. Yes, the immediate gratification won out. Similar studies involving boomers and seniors had the same results.
From his brain study, Martin concludes that “successful brands (Nike, Harley-Davidson) stimulate the brain's emotional centers in a positive way—a lot like religion. They create community, rituals and a common adversary.” Others such as Clay Shirky, Jeff Howe, Chris Brogan and Seth Godin describe positive ways we are appealing to the same yearnings for belonging.