Background Psychology: Control, Limitations, and Abundance
We humans enjoy having control over the majority of experiences we have. We crave control. We usually want things in excess and don’t like limits of things because at the end of the day, we know we can have more of what we are in control of.
Food and money are examples of things we enjoy having control over and enjoy having an abundance of. Both can impact our physical experience significantly. But whenever anything is limited, we lose the control we had and are forced to react to the limitation instead.
Limitations bother us. Having a limit of food or having a limit of money, forces us to react in a way to deal with it accordingly. Some deal with a plan, others don’t even want to look at it. Having an abundance of anything, means we have control over it – which is why we always seek abundance because on a deep level, we want control.
Can you think of a brand that offers their audience an abundance or themselves? I can think of Google, Facebook, Twitter – these brands offer an abundance of online services because they’re really not limited themselves, based on their size and based on the abundant resource the internet is in itself.
The sad reality when it comes to business is that very rarely can a business offer its audience an ABUNDANCE of anything. Most products and services are limited to a certain amount by some resource on either the consumers end or businesses end. Therefore, consumers will generally always be reactors to a business and a brand.
Without abundance, consumer’s won’t feel a sense of control. They automatically see limit – and when there’s limit, that’s when decision-making comes into play. The most ridiculous decisions are made when there’s a perception of ‘no limit’ – just look at the world’s depleting fresh water supply. Humans don’t really see water as being a limited resource. Once they do however, decision for its use will be a lot different than it is now, a lot less care-free.
Abundance –> No limits –> Triggers sense of control (become the cause not the effect or the reactor) –> Freedom (deep human desire) –> Care-free decisions!
(Think of this concept and the super-rich of our society…)
When a brand is synonymous with ‘unlimited’ amounts of service or products that’s FREE ( because money limits)… they will attract everyone… those businesses thrive and can SCALE easily (Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)
Most businesses can’t offer abundance to their consumers.
No Abundance –> Feeling of being limited –> Loss of sense of control –> No longer in power (become the reactor instead of the cause) –> No freedom –> Decisions are now very well thought-out and restricted
Your Brand Marketing Strategy
So knowing that your audience will generally be a reactor to your brand, which influences the decision your customer makes in relationship to your brand, you must leverage the psychology of HOW your consumer reacts, so you can strategically position your brand marketing strategy.
Consider this – the things that usually limit us are those things that are FIXED. Taxes are fixed. We have no control over taxes. The amount of time we have in a day is fixed. We have to work around these things that are fixed. We don’t like having a limit of time and we generally aren’t fond of paying taxes. So what’s the core reason behind this?
The reason is because we are more inclined towards being the CAUSE, not the EFFECT. We like to impact, not be forced to react. When things are fixed we are no longer the controllers, we are reactors. For example, seeing how time is fixed and that we only have 24 hours in a day, time is out of our control – we can’t pause time or speed it up. Thus, we react to time by organizing our lives around it.
Your audience will primarily be either 1 of the following 2 Types of Reactors:
1) The Planner
Planners will look at the entire 24 hours as a whole and divide up the day in chunks of what they’re going to do – they plan it out step by step.
2) The Freethinker
The Freethinker will realize that there are 24 hours in a day, acknowledge that it’s limited, and will decide to experience every second as much as they can – and the only way they can do this is by trying not to think about it at all or by only thinking about what they will do an hour or two from now.
Besides time, another thing that is fixed in our lives is space – and just like with time, we react to the space we live in, as either the Planner or the Freethinker.
Ever heard of the idea that a person’s environment is a direct reflection of their mind’s environment? If someone likes to plan their time out and keep their experiences very structured, that’s probably how the space around them is going to be. Their desk will be organized. Their room will be neat and tidy.
Planners live there life according to a plan that they have strategically set out. They love schedules and timelines. They tend to set rules and regulations. You can guess what positions they probably hold in the corporate world. They will not be pleased with anyone who breaks rules.
Freethinkers are more spontaneous. They live more ‘in the present’. They adapt to changes as opposed to having changes adapt to them. This isn’t the same differentiation between the right-brain and left-brain theory you may have heard of. Although some similarities exist, this is specifically to do with the way people deal with the time and space around them.
Planners are all about:
- Rules and regulations
- Being on time
- Making hard decisions; only changing them based on facts
- Cleanliness and organization
Freethinkers are all about:
- Going with the flow
- Don’t care about time
- Impulsive decisions
- Despise rules
- Cluttered environment
- Agendas and schedules are scary for them
- Flexible in their decisions
Brand Marketing Insight
Understanding whether your consumer is primarily a PLANNER or FREETHINKER can give you a point of leverage that is extremely beneficial as you create your brand marketing strategy and build your brand. The way in which your consumer organizes time and space in his or her life, DIRECTLY influences the decisions that they make.
This can also give you significant insight on the types of people working in your business, representing your brand. This can give you significant insight if you’re a start-up brand and need to pitch your business to an investor. You can cater your brand’s message, positioning, and strategy for your audience; whether your audience is your customer, your manager, or an investor. You can draw out the decision you want them to take based on their psychological profile, based on whether or not they are a Planner or Freethinker. And here’s how you can do that:
Your Brand Marketing Psychology Strategy
Before you begin assuming whether your audience is a Planner or Freethinker, you need to do something called market research – you may have heard of it. As a brand consultant, I rarely see businesses approaching market research in the most effective way possible, let alone actually doing it enough or recognizing its immense value.
Anyway, if you have been interacting with your audience long enough, it is highly likely that you can make the assumption of whether or not they are Planners or Freethinkers. Regardless, testing and research should never end. I would suggest you still try to identify who your audience really is to confirm your assumption, or at the very least you will gain some insight that you may have overlooked.
So how can you identify your audience type?
One way is to observe their behavior.
“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” – Marilyn Vos Savant
If your audience are those working with you in your company for example:
- Observe their desk, is it clean or messy?
- Observe their timing, are they rushing to make it on time or arrive quite early?
Depending on your relationship, asking questions can be an option. This would work well for service oriented firms with clients that they have good relationships with. There are countless ways to literally just directly ask your customer about themselves. Whichever way you choose, try to find out if they live their life spontaneously or according to a set plan. Try and find out how often they change their mind once they’ve made their decisions.
Applying the Insight Gained After Identifying Your Audience
At the end of the day, you want to create a connection with your audience. You want to relate to them. You want to speak to their personality and show them that you get who they are. We give our attention to and are influenced strongly by those who are ‘like’ us.
If you realize the majority of your audience are PLANNERS – reach out to them in a planned and methodical style.
If you’re a marketing consulting firm servicing a personal injury law firm – let’s make the generalization that your audience (lawyers) will be primarily PLANNERS – therefore make sure you start and finish all meetings ON TIME. Make sure to be prepared to get a hard YES or a hard NO. You’re not going to get any wishy-washy answer. And if you get a NO, having identified your audience beforehand, NOW you can have a back-up plan. NOW you know that perhaps all you need to push them to that YES is some more relevant facts and data.
Also, be mindful of the way in which you present yourself; be organized, clean, and neat. If you’re a CEO and realize that there are individuals in your business who are Planners, provide instructions on a time-lined basis and in a very logical fashion. Provide deadlines.
If you realize the majority of your audience are FREETHINKERS– reach out to them spontaneously! Out of the blue encounters will be memorable and highly accepted.
Be creative in your message. Be FREE in your approach. Display an openness and ability to be completely flexible with outcomes and processes. Expect constantly changing decisions – the best you can do is lay out all your options. Remember to tailor these recommendations specifically for your brand, product, or service. These are just general applications of this branding psychology insight.