This Stinks

In his podcast, Akimbo, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

  • For millions of years, we have depended on our primitive senses to stay alive and to evolve. Like many creatures on earth, we, the human beings, still make many decisions based on things that do not have words associated with them. Another word, instead of relying on long trains of logical rational thought, we have built our decision-making around what we sense and how do we feel.
  • When we look at the work of people who seek to engage with their culture, we have found that we spent most of our time putting together a narrative. We look for words to use for proof. It turns out that the more basic a sense is, the harder it is for us to find the words to describe it. Senses have much power over us, and it is not an accident because they operate at the basic level of human emotion.
  • When something does not get to our emotions, it rarely changes our behaviors. Once we realize that so much of our decision-making is based on non-verbal emotions, we should consider leveraging this concept for making changes. Why is it that a chiropractor’s office feels different than a doctor’s office? Why is that a plastic surgeon’s office feels different than a medical clinic? The emotions created by the environmental design changes people’s behaviors. It also changes the way they interact with the services or products offered.
  • To appeal to someone’s emotions, the question to ask is “What does this remind you of?” That question is the heart of any culture-bending storytelling we do call Semiotics, the science of flags and symbols, is a key enabler of marketing. We are so accustomed to seeing the stop sign. Even if we change the sign to read anything other than “Stop,” we are still going to stop because the symbol is engaging with a part of our brain immediately.
  • The semiotic signal also can be easily misused. For example, conmen are great at presenting themselves with the semiotics associated with trustworthy people. They dress, shake hands, and look us in the eye a certain way, all in the service of jamming our senses and getting us to give them the benefit of the doubt. Political gatherings often emit many semiotic signals. We interpret those signals and instantly jumped to the non-verbal conclusion about a person. As a result, it changes the way we process the words that are being spoken by the person.
  • What we have the chance to do as people in the culture is catch ourselves when we’re using senses that are not going to get us to where we want to be in the long run. What we can do as marketers, as people who are trying to change the game, is to realize that all of us are suckers for the right ques coming for appealing to our emotions.
  • We are all guilty of making bad decisions based on primal senses, but each of us can use these symbols and messaging tools to get to people who can hear us. We want those people who can hear it for the contribution we seek to make, so we do not get judged ahead of time or not even considered for what we have to offer.