Over 300 years ago Sir Isaac Newton wrote, "I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people." His scientific theories still hold true centuries after his death, and so does his observation about human beings.
Once you understand and embrace this reality--that people are feeling creatures, not thinking machines--everything else in the marketplace will make sense to you.
People are not the sensible and judicious creatures you believe them to be. In fact, today's marketplace of abundance and anxiety makes rational decision-making an impossibility.
What's "rational" is what makes sense to us--what "feels" right in the moment--framed by our desires and our personal view of the world.
Consider this: You've recently purchased a new pair of expensive shoes and you're walking proudly towards your office. Suddenly you notice a child drowning in a nearby pond. Do you sprint over, jump in and save her (new shoes be damned)? Of course you do.
So why don't you write a check for the same amount as the price of those new shoes and donate it to a worthy and legitimate cause to help save the life of a starving child?
It certainly makes rational sense, but my informed guess is that it simply doesn't feel the same to you. It hasn't been brought to life in a way that compels you to act. And so, you don't (and by "you" I mean the majority of you).
The same is true of most of our marketplace decisions. The few we act upon have been brought to life in a way that allows us to rationalize our decision. The rest are habitual, mainly subconscious decisions. None make objective, rational sense. They simply felt like the right decision . . . to us . . . at the time.
This one insight should change, and improve, everything for you and your business or cause going forward. But will it?
In the recording below, where I was interviewed about branding at a public radio conference, I make reference to the fact that my clients who sell commodities, like soap and soda, are obsessed with creatively bringing their brands to life. On the other hand, my mission and purpose-driven clients, like public radio and other non-profits, seem not to be.
Assuming that my assessment is accurate, why do you think that's so? I have some ideas, but I'd really like to know yours. You can email me or post them in the comments section below.
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