Six Marketing Tactics all Boxed Up: Face Five
The doorbell rings at night and you look through the peephole to see two police officers. Do you open the door? Now how about the doorbell rings and you see two strangers in street clothes outside. Would you be just as likely to open the door? Most likely not. You would have probably judged the police officers by their uniform, guns and badges and see them as credible, whereas the strangers would lack any clothing or proof of authority.
We grow up to respond to authority figures, from our parents to the characters on the TV. We know to obey our parents, otherwise we may be punished, or that teachers are people to look up to for knowledge. That’s why marketing tactics involve brand building with authority, which leads to credibility, and thus helps influence others in the art of persuasion.
The Fifth Face to Persuasion is the Law of Authority
When marketing communications quote vague authorities, that “experts say this is their preferred brand,” you may wonder who these experts are. What credentials do they have? Why will you trust them? Do they have a vested interest? Simply having authority may not be enough, but you will have to establish credibility.
There’s a reason why more definite and distinct celebrity endorsements or expert testimonials work. When building your brand identity, you should select people that are most suitable for your product or service. Do they have relevant knowledge or qualifications? Are they trustworthy, or do people regard them as trustworthy? Even physical attractiveness may come across as someone of credibility. When you see a person on the screen, whether they are a celebrity, policeman, lawyer, politician, doctor or guru, if a product or service is good enough for them, then it must be good enough for you.
What ways can you express yourself or your brand identity and authority?
Lavelle, J 2010, ‘6 Laws of Influence’, Psychology Today, no.2, viewed 12 November 2012, <http://www.blueiceconsulting.co.uk/documents/6_Laws_of_Influence_-_Part2_-_JonLavelle_000.pdf>.
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Six Marketing Tactics all Boxed Up: Face Four
Anyone who has studied or has a brief understanding of Economics 101 will recognise the marketing tactics used in the fourth face to the cube of persuasion very quickly. Since you were born, it has been affecting you throughout your life. When you were told you couldn’t have that box of chocolates, when you saw that kid playing with a brand new Rubik’s Cube, or seeing a Ferrari speed past, things you didn’t have or couldn’t have instantly became desirable. The fourth face to the cube of persuasion, the “Law of Scarcity,” is about supply and demand. When there is high demand, or less supply for something, the more rare and valuable it can be. Basic marketing tactics and sales training deals with this idea of scarcity for the potential of influence, which primarily is about creating desire for purchase.
It is no wonder that even at the birth of creation, Adam and Eve couldn’t stay away from the forbidden fruit, despite having the rest of the Garden of Eden to take from. Scarcity drives us crazy. Things are always more valuable and enticing when they are hard to obtain, or the last one on the shelf. By being prohibited from a product, we feel that our freedom is restricted and will experience psychological resistance and fight to restore that freedom.
One great example in history was a time when potatoes were made to be as valuable as gold. During the late 1700s, potatoes were regarded with suspicion, distaste and fear. The French believed they caused leprosy, the Germans used it as animal fodder, whereas the Russians presumed them to be poisonous. Catherine the Great, ruler of Russia, saw there was a great famine, and had high fences erected around her potato fields with guards stationed around to fend off thieves. Of course, the peasants of the town would watch and wonder why the wealthy were keeping the potatoes to themselves. Such an exclusivity of the potato created their desire, that eventually turned potatoes into a staple of the Russian diet (Pratkanis & Aronson 2001).
Catherine the Great’s campaign to transform the potato from something that was barely fit for a dog to eat, to a solution to the Russian famine, is the epitome of branding strategy and marketing tactics in play. By taking advantage of the human psyche in the persuasion process, you can increase the attractiveness of an object, simply by shifting the perception of its scarcity.
The Fourth Face to Persuasion is the Law of Scarcity
Brand and marketing consultants recognise that scarcity sells. We are all aware of the ads that scream: “for a limited time only,” “only available in this store,” or “sale ending soon.” And they work. Some marketing tactics include even deliberately limiting stock. Since the introduction of the Barbie doll in 1959, there has always been a toy that becomes the central, scarce item each year. We’ve seen the fads of G.I. Joe action figures, Magna-doodles, Furbies, Robot Poo-chi and Meow-chis, Pokemon cards and Tamagotchis. Due to the rarity of such popular toys, they were frequently out-of-stock. Through brand building and marketing tactics, it has been shown that the threat of potentially losing the opportunity to purchase an item will influence on the decision-making process. This mental trigger can cause tension and unrest and even such great anxiety in people that they will act to prevent this potential loss – even if they weren’t initially interested in the product in the first place!
Think of Romeo and Juliet. If the ancient feud between the Capulets and Montagues did not exist, do you believe Romeo would have been as committed to elope with her? We have been led to believe that love was an uncontrollable process, that these chemical reactions within us were unexplainable – but the impossible truth is that this can be controlled! Playing hard to get is one common relationship dynamic, based off the Rule of Scarcity. If your availability seems limited, you may seem that you are “in demand” or “one-of-a-kind,” increasing the perceived value of yourself. Whilst frustrating to the other party, we know that we must work for love, in order to play the game.
So what can this mean for business? Can you say “limited supply” in your communication? People tend to stay away from empty restaurants and popular clubs will have long lines outside, even if it may be empty inside! It’s about creating the perception of scarcity through artificial queues.
The challenge is to make your brand that forbidden fruit.
Pratkanis, AR & Aronson, E 2001, Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion, rev. edn., Holt Paperbacks, New York, ch. 30.
Westside Toastmasters n.d., ‘The Rule of Scarcity: Get Anyone to Take Immediate Action’ in The Rules of Persuasion, ch. 7, viewed 7 November 2012, <http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/laws_persuasion/chap7.html>.
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Six Marketing Tactics all Boxed Up: Face Three
Robert Cialdini’s marketing tactics in “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” tells us you are more likely to say “yes” to someone you like. Yes, that’s common sense. It doesn’t take a marketing consultant or someone with years of sales training to tell you that. But what many haven’t mastered yet is how to have someone like you. That’s why you’ll see many people curling on a coach, watching a movie for one, or those who found their special someone may find themselves spending time trying to avoid arguments, rather than sharing a gelato masked in some fancy Italian name. It’s no wonder that How To Win Friends and Influence People became a number one on the best seller list and remained on the list for ten years straight, even outselling the bible!
The Third Face to Persuasion is the Law of Liking
We’re strongly influenced by people who we like; liking someone builds trust and you tend to believe them more often. The simple math is that we like to do business with people we enjoy being around, or feel are “just like us.” It’s about establishing rapport, which means an employee-employer relationship is more important than ever, if you want to achieve goals in the workplace. This means developing a social network within your work environment.
How likeable are you to your team and co-workers? Are you approachable, optimistic, trustworthy and a person of integrity? Psychological tactics applied by successful salespeople include mirroring – from finding common backgrounds and interests down to speech and body language. Salespeople using these tactics can build rapport to a much deeper level, improve and accelerate the sales process. We all get along with someone whose values, beliefs and assumptions match up with us (Perhaps you might even pretend to root for the boss’s footy team around grand final, but secretly hang your team’s colours around your neck and cheer for your team by a television in the basement!).
When it comes to brand building and marketing tactics, customer insight is the key to reaching this rapport. If you’re targeting teenagers, you can use the same language or jargon as them – but without looking like you’re trying too hard! Likewise, finding information on a target market can tap into a prospect or customer’s deepest hopes or fears. When it comes to choosing brands, just like we do with people, we choose those we feel most connected to, those we like more and those brands that reflect to us our beliefs and values.
Of course, another dimension is that people like others that make them feel good. The easiest and most overlooked way to do this is to compliment people. We’re all suckers for flattery so compliment when you can, but make sure you are authentic in your praise. Complimenting fulfils two of our most important needs – the need to be recognised and the need to feel loved. Praising people for their efforts will also means that you will be more appreciated and respected in the workplace, or within personal relations. Of course, this links back to the Law of Reciprocity where people are more likely to “return the favour” in the future.
What people don’t realise is that complimenting others will enhance your own well-being as well. By focusing on other people’s needs and desires, rather than on yourself, you can improve your self-esteem by perceiving yourself as a thoughtful and kind person. Likewise, complimenting will naturally lift others’ self-esteem and in turn, boost productivity.
As the need to be liked goes down to the core of the coveted feeling of belonging, it is no wonder that Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is still as applicable today as it was 80 years ago.
Below is a list of his Six Ways to Make People Like You:
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Perhaps nice guys can finish first.
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