managing consumer behaviour – tip 3

The power of INSECURITY
You may have seen the episode of the ABC series RAKE where the central character Clever Green, has wine thrown in his face after he un-leased a tirade on them criticising amongst other things their ego driven motivation for driving their kids to school in a Porsche 4 wheel drive.

Research has found that the line of 4 wheel drives outside of the school each morning as mum drops off and each afternoon, as mum picks up, the kids is all about insecurity. That may not surprise you. What might surprise you however is that insecurity does not relate to road safety but to ego.

In other words while drivers of 4 wheel drives, and in particular female drivers might tell you that it is all about safety – it is not. Indeed, on the open road a 4 wheel drive is LESS SAFE than a standard car. Driving That 4 wheel drive is much more about emotional insecurity and a need to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.

Of course this effect is not limited to women. Whilst Mercedes drivers might tell you that they chose the car they did because of the German engineering or superior finish, these types or reasons tend to be rationalisations. The real reason for the purchase is insecurity and the need to tell the world that they have “made it’, that they are successful.

Now, I am not being critical. I am not. I am simply highlighting the power of insecurity and the investment people will make in the vain attempt to overcome that insecurity. Most importantly, we need to understand the profound effect this can have on purchase behaviour.

This provides an insight into what people are actually buying – not a car but ego food.
This provides an insight into how you make a produce premium – by building in ego
This demonstrates that if you offer a superior approach to addressing insecurity, there may well be a market for that
This demonstrates that no matter how much money some people are, they still need ego food

The next time you see a middle aged man in a red Ferrari with the roof off and a pretty girl half his age sitting next to him outside a high profile café – ask yourself – did this guy buy engineering or a panacea for his insecurity.
The bad news is of course that such panaceas don’t work. The good news is that if you can offer one that does not will do very well indeed.

This issue will be discussed in detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK –

John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing, communication, personal advancement, business development and behaviour management.

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