Guest post by AmyK Hutchens
In the mid 70s a famous perfume commercial told young women everywhere they could “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let their husbands forget they’re a man.” The quintessential do everything, be everything woman of the decade was there on the TV emulating what women wanted and showing young girls what they could aspire to. The Super Woman race had officially begun.
Thirty-some years later, women today can visually recall with crystal clarity the beautiful and sexy model who intimidated us in her business suit and beguiled us in a sequin gown. We can hum the jingle and recite the lyrics almost verbatim, as we remember the analogy of her fanning money for “bacon”. Why? Because that commercial ingeniously burned, e.g. branded, an emotional response in our brains. It piqued our curiosity, asking us, “Do you thirst for this lifestyle?” And women everywhere shouted a resounding, Yes!
And while the famous ad jingle is now just an ever popular click on Youtube, providing women these days with a giggle as we look back and think, That was my role model message at age eight, orThat WAS me, attempting to set large rollers in my hair while simultaneously balancing the books of a business and being home by six to serve a five-course dinner for my family of four. Whichever the case, the tune and the images this perfume company sold us still lives on in our psyche. What magic spell was cast upon millions of women the day they sat in front of their television set, (sans cell phone, laptop and remote) and were baited, hooked, and caught on the idea that they could attain: corporate business skills, seduction techniques and chef de haute cuisine talents all from a perfume? A magic spell cast through a little brainwashing.
First, emotion serves as the bait. Dove® doesn’t just sell soap these days, they sell acceptance to women. Their ad campaigns showing the beautiful curves and smiles of women who don’t wear a size -2 have emotionally hooked women on confidence. Confidence about who they are, irrespective of their waistline, and acceptance of the fact that size does not equate with beauty and worth. In fact, they assure us, your lustrous, curvy skin is more than worthy of Dove.
Nike® doesn’t sell us athletic attire, they sell us endurance and the feelings of victory for overcoming our fears and fulfilling our destinies to perform. Okay, that might be a bit exaggerated, but which is more emotionally intriguing to your brain, watching a Nike commercial, or sifting through a rack of sweatpants to find a color you like? The commercial creates an emotional, physiological response in your brain and body that says, “I’m thirsty for that!” Whereas, when you sift through a rack of clothing, you’re simply looking for the piece of “information” that can provide a solution to your need.
How do we sell emotional thirst to the brain?
- Sensory associations. Think visually. From collateral to website to proposals to wardrobe, what are you strategically communicating through the mind’s eye? Do your business cards, your brochures, or your thank you notes trigger the brain with unique and creative visuals? The brain is “thirsty” for new, novel, unique, and innovative information to consume all day and night long. Satisfy the thirst by being visually different.
- Varied - Repetition. Yes, it’s an oxymoron, but it works. Repetition is paramount when building a brand, but same-o, same-o does not trigger the brain. What works is a consistent framework or paradigm that integrates a novel approach. Absolut Vodka® was a mastermind at linking the constant frame of their bottle with innovative visuals both in and outside the bottle’s silhouette. Their advertising campaign of 2000+ renderings created such a strong neural groove in the mind’s long term memory, a thirst for their vodka (pun intended), that an Absolut Society was created based on the pure pleasurable fun of the ads.
- Intense Associations. Customers want to feel as if the product or service you sell them is inherently accurate in reflecting who they want to be in the world. Note: want to be. We do not purchase products and services to be the person or company we are, but to be the person or company we thirst for. Women do not buy computers and say, “This will sustain my mediocrity.” Women buy computers because they feel a need to be creative, perform, produce, etcetera. They want to be and feel more of themselves. Here lies the gem. Your product or service must transport people to where they want to be, not keep them where they are. The perfume commercial didn’t tell sexy women they could still be sexy; it didn’t tell corporate executives they could be more corporate; nor did it tell domestic housewives they could cook more adequately. Instead, it told all women they could quench their thirst for wanting it all! They could successfully and masterfully be all three! And the bonus? Oh yeah, you can smell good too.
We are naturally curious, naturally thirsty for new information. And if that information creates intrigue or shows us how to be what we want to be, we’re hooked! Creating thirst is about enticing people to want to know more about what you can do to help them feel what they want to feel and be who they want to be. And when you create enough thirst for your brand, you’ll have momentum. And as your brand and business roll along, picking up speed, you may just want to glance in the rearview mirror and notice, that yes indeed, you’ve come a long way, baby!
AmyK Hutchens, Founder and Intelligence Activist, AmyK International, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and
business strategist. With over 800 presentations around the globe to more than 20,000 executives on leadership and sales, AmyK and her team teach executives how to lead and sales teams how to sell…successfully. Follow AmyK on Twitter @AmyKinc or visit www.amyk.com