The Usefulness of Meaninglessness 2

The Usefulness of Meaninglessness 2

  1. Motivation varies as well: the range is from a general drive to be of assistance right up to a desire of appearing superior in your social surroundings. Whats unitary for both extremes as well as for everything in between is the social character of the motivation.
  2. For people who long to appear superior, it’s not about the product itself. It is about leveraging their own image at the cost of something they don’t really care about.
  3. To some, the more a product or brand appears to be secret, underground or hard to get, the more it appeals and is being bragged about. When we look at this kind of audience, the good old economics term scarcity shifts its meaning: it becomes a marketing strategy.

Either way, people have a variety of personal reasons for bragging, be it out of an actual desire to help or an attempt to raise their social status. This interesting phenomenon is something marketers can and do use. The power of the word of mouth is a strong one! While the creation of content worth spreading is a classic PR discipline (a whole branch is constantly working on communicating brands in a way that will trigger word of mouth effects.), it’s of great importance in advertising as well. Many campaigns are intended to be followed up by media effects. They are being composed with that objective in mind.

The snowball effect

Back at the DMV, once the number 384 got called, it took me exactly 7 minutes and 30 seconds to sign a form, pay a fee and be on my way. Not too exciting, huh? But I did walk out with an interesting insight. While I am quite sure that the restaurant across the street didn’t exactly work with a PR agency (it was an 18-table, rustic, low-priced joint), they did manage to get the word out that they serve home-cooked meals. Whatever that’s supposed to mean – it has an effect! It triggered a mention by the clerk girl at the DMV. To her, it didn’t matter that home-cooked is a ridiculous argument for classifying a restaurant. She meant to say they make good food.

The term home-cooked meals, as meaningless as it is, simply makes it plausible to spread the word about it. It’s remarkable. As far as I know, this little restaurant doesn’t do any sort of advertising. Just the patron of the place, walking from table to table, saying this dish you’re eating is authentic and home-cooked. That alone has the potential of adding to your repertoire of self-leveraging insights. It certainly was enough to make our DMV clerk talk about it.

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