Are we aware of the psychological tricks and traps some marketers use to lure us into purchasing specific brands? Just because most of us at the Daily Fix are involved in marketing doesn't mean that we can't be affected by our colleagues' ruses.

No matter how smart we think we are, I guarantee we've all fallen prey to a marketing enticement trick or two. I know I have.

While working out recently, I watched an interesting segment on the Today Show about a branding experiment conducted by author and branding/consumer behavior expert, Martin Lindstrom. In it, a California couple agreed to promote specific brands to their friends and social circle in everyday conversations and at parties that they hosted. At the end of the three-month period, the results were staggering:

  • 9 out of 10 brands were bought.

  • One brand had a 1,000% sales increase.

  • An estimated 13,000 people were affected by the couple.

Now, maybe our pal, Daily Fix blogger, author, and word-of-mouth marketing guru, Andy Sernovitz wouldn't be surprised by this, but others may.

Admittedly, I haven't yet read Lindstrom's book, Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, but based on the experiment and book reviews, I am certainly intrigued.

I could never have imagined that some companies begin marketing to babies in the womb. Or that shoppers in U.S. department stores who are exposed to Muzak with a slow tempo shop 18% longer and purchase 17% more than do those who shop in silence. Or that peddling panic and paranoia was so ubiquitous.

What's even more interesting is Lindstrom's take on it all.
"Whenever I meet up with executives around the world, I remind them that today the most powerful force in marketing is not a corporation. It's not a CEO. It's not a big-budget marketing department. Today and in the future, the people who hold the real power are hyperconnected, mouse-clicking consumers and their wide circles of virtual and real-life friends and acquaintances. In other words, the people who hold the real power are us.

"As a result, brands of the future simply must be transparent and live up to their promises. Trust me (and you marketers out there take note), any brand that doesn't will be instantly and painfully exposed and reviled."

Your turn: Were you aware of these types of brandwashing  tricks and tools? Have you ever been duped by them? Do you think marketers should continue to employ these tactics, or do you think they are unethical? WEIGH IN!

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel