Belief Branding

belief branding and snake-oil marketing

Belief is branding. The question is what forms belief.

belief branding and snake-oil marketingI am in the earliest of stages in creating a TED Talk, pondering the realities of what people believe and how they come to believe such. On the lower end of the ways we organize what we hold to be true are the elements of belief, knowledge and facts. Individually, humans know few facts compared to humanity’s abundance of cumulative investigation and testing. Thus most of what we shaved apes use to guide our daily activities are either knowledge (acquaintance/familiarity with facts, truths, or principles) or belief (opinion or conviction).

Living life this way is perfectly reasonable since omniscience is a rare commodity in this world (despite what politicians say about themselves). The more one has belief, the less one need depend on facts. Every snake oil salesman elected or otherwise, creates a sense of belief. Medicine show pitchmen made rural patients believe that their elixirs were worldly miracle cures. Customers had no facts, and whatever knowledge they had came directly from traveling vendors. Nothing more than belief drove purchases.

This is the goal of branding. Belief in a product will drive purchases. But creating false beliefs, as certain caravans did, has short-lived potential. Once a product is tried, if it fails to achieve what the belief system thought would be achieved, negative buzz begins, sales plummet and the authorities may want to have an unpleasant chat with you. But products that fulfill the beliefs created by marketing mavens generate enduring profitability. Delivering results creates a “fact”, which in turn creates quantified knowledge. That personal knowledge is shared by the buyer to create belief in the minds of his neighbors.

The goal is to establish what your brand/belief should be, then make it happen. Define what you want people to think and feel about your products, then design and build products that deliver on that belief. Any gap in between the brand/belief and what the product delivers will make you reach for a nostrum to cure your never ending headaches.


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