What Makes People Buy: Your Father’s Genes

Latest research in the original inhabitants of these United States territories postulates that the original “newcomers” were exiles from the Eurasian tribes.

12-17 thousand years ago, it was uncommon for people to be jailed. They were much more likely to be exiled.

Murderers and thieves would be exiled across the Beringia, now known as the Bering Strait; the land mass connecting Eurasia with North American continent.

It’s presumed that many have died crossing the chasm. Humans cant survive on their own it seems.

Funny thing happened on the other side tho.

Those who managed to cross the Strait banded together and formed tribes which were later “discovered” by Christopher Columbus many centuries later.

My point is this. Humans, even murderess and thieves, need other humans to survive.

Therefore, we are both genetically and situationaly predisposed to glue together in order to survive.

Nowadays, in Western societies, mere survival is a given but the instinct to band together is still strong. Remember high school?

So now you can finally answer that question your parents asked you when you were a kid.

If your friends jumped off the bridge would you do it too?~Any Parent USA

Turns out, the answer is yes. We would.

After all, banding together, conforming to the group’s dynamic, etc are essential tools of social acceptance and therefore survival.

There are 3 types of Psychological tribes that advertisers use to make you spend your cash.

Does your product fit in one of these?

  1. Aspirational – It’s a tribe you want to belong to.
  2. Associative – It’s a tribe that you already belong to for the mere fact that you share common ideals, values, etc. Family, church, sports team, age group, etc. are all examples of associative tribes.
  3. Disassociate – It’s a tribe that you DON’T want to belong to nor want to be associated with. We’ll see how GAP used this to make you buy some jeans in a minute.

Aspirational tribe is an obvious target for your product.

Sex and the city girls. A great example of an aspirational tribe. Many girls want to be like them, dress like them, go to same clubs as them, etc.

Luxury products take great advantage of this. If you want to belong to a certain country club (just another tribe) you have to drive a certain kind of car, wear certain type of clothes, go to certain restaurants, etc.

If you want to infiltrate this tribe you better drive the right car, wear the right clothes and dine at the right restaurants. You dig?

Can your product be associated with a tribe people aspire to belong to?

Answer that questions and the product will sell itself. Not only that, but the price point will become obvious as well.

Moving on to the Associative Tribe.

Associating (identifying) your product with a specific tribe is an obvious strategy.

I’ve covered this type of advertising in What Makes People Buy Part 2: Identification

Here is an excerpt.

Does your product offer Identification?

FUBU does. (For Us By Us)
Not too many white boys wearing FUBU. And if you are a young black man and want to identify (align) yourself with the Hip Hop community, FUBU is your brand.

Abercrombie & Fitch.
Not too many old folks buying shit at A&F. If you’re a young suburbanite and would like to identify yourself as such….well, you get the point.

Billabong.
Yet another brand with strong association with a specific and narrow community. In this case skaters.

End of excerpt.

Got the point?

You DON’T have to tap into the Aspirational or Associative strategy. These tribes may elude your product. But that’s ok.

The last strategy is my favorite.

Disassociate tribe strategy.

It’s enough to Disassociate yourself from the tribe your target audience is averse to.

When GAP first opened its doors back in 1969 their marketing strategy was captured in their name.

GAP implies a generational gap, as in “these are not your father’s jeans”.

If you remember, the generational split between the youth movement in 1969 and (their parent’s) generation that grew up during the WWII was at an all time high. (Vietnam war anybody?)

GAP managed to tap into this rift and build a company that is the largest specialty apparel retailer in the U.S using Dissociative tribe strategy.

What type of tribe are you trying to appeal to with your product or service?

I recommend these books for further research (Amazon Affiliate Links)

  • Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman is quick, easy, jam packed with great info.
  • The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille is in depth, well researched, head and shoulders above the other books in the similar vain.
  • Buyology by Martin Lindstrom Like the story of Goldilocks, this one is neither too quick nor too in depth but it’s just right for anyone who wants to have a really practical understanding of what motivates buyers. It rounds out the set nicely.

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/jaennutter Julie Nutter

    Oh I love it. I think if you came up with a way to market all three at the same time, you might have some awesome – or disasterous – results. (Although, marketing all three at the same time would present a few problems, I should think…)

    Very cool. I need to get on reading some of those books darn it. Maybe after I switch jobs. lol.

    • http://diyblogger.com/ Dino Dogan

      This shit works on very subtle levels. Marketing on one level is difficult enough for some…marketing on diff levels is possible as long as its done at diff times…I think. Anyways, Im glad you’re digging it :-)

    • http://diyblogger.com/ Dino Dogan

      This shit works on very subtle levels. Marketing on one level is difficult enough for some…marketing on diff levels is possible as long as its done at diff times…I think. Anyways, Im glad you’re digging it :-)

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