Last night I watch a fascinating National Geographic TV program about the vital importance of first impressions.
This has very strong implications for PR, marketing and selling.
In summary, the following research findings were highlighted:
1. Putting visual clues not in plain sight, but repeating them subtley, makes a big difference. In several scenes of the program, there were posters and pictures shown on the screen – but not as the main focus – of milk and related items. (A cow is a related item to milk!) After watching these scenes, people were asked to pick what they most wanted to drink from a list of 3, one of which was milk. They all chose milk because they had subconsciously picked up on the visual clues.
2. What you say first is the most important thing. They showed 2 identical twins doing an interview. The first one said something positive and then something negative about herself. The other twin said something negative and then something positive about herself. They repeated the interviews with several interviewers who were blind to the experiment. They were asked to pick whom they would hire. They all picked the twin who spoke positively FIRST. Apparently this is called the Primary Effect.
3. Statistics show (yeah, ok) that people are willing to spend 30% more on a known brand compared to a generic in a supermarket.
4. People are much more adventurous if they are NOT being watched. If you offer free money to people in the street, they are unlikely to take it if you are watching them or even if you put up a big poster with a pair of eyes! If they think no one is watching, they will take the money much more readily.
5. All things being equal, people will always choose things that are easier to pronounce. For example, which 3 of the following stocks are you most likely to invest in, if you had the money and didn’t know anything about them other than their codes:
Nearly everyone in the experiment picked CLEM, TAN and BARN.
6. People generally will not buy into anything if they believe it’s too good to be true. This wasn’t in the program, but there’s a section in the excellent book “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis which I reproduce here about two guys trying to sell an astonishing piece of software to Wall Street that had an almost unbelievable back story:
They never created a PowerPoint; they never did anything more formal than sit down and tell people everything they knew in plain English.7. People instantly decide if a face is trustworthy or not. 70% of the reason a politician gets into power is probably because people like his face. Just think about the recent leaders of political parties. It may be that the only reason that Nick Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister is because he has a nice face. Will Ed Milliband lose because he looks a bit weird? Would UKIP have got anywhere if Farage looked like the back of a bus?
How does this apply to selling therapy for depression, my own particular point of interest? The point that jumps out for me is that I think the reason that therapy doesn’t sell is because it’s too good to be true. So what we need to do is explain exactly how it works. And the same applies to TIR, our traumatic stress therapy. We need some to explain it in simple terms in one paragraph.
And TIR needs a better acronym that can be pronounced as a word.
And I need to do a survey showing my face and some of my colleagues to a bunch of strangers to see which one of us is the most trustworthy!