Consumers are having a more difficult time identifying deceptive marketing practices as they become more nuanced and complex.
Martin Lindstrom, the author, and former marketing insider explains the common (and not-so-common) tricks of modern marketing to help you become a more informed and discerning shopper in Brandwashed.
Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom will teach you how common brands use deceptive marketing techniques to get you to buy their products. You’ll also learn how advertisers use emotional triggers and other vulnerabilities to influence your purchasing decisions, even when you think you’re acting rationally.
Reading this book is the first step toward learning how to avoid falling for such tricks. If you know the tricks of the advertising trade, you can have a more pleasant and logical shopping experience in the future.
You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book summary will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.
At the end of this book summary, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Lesson 1: Anxiety can cloud our judgment and lead to irrational behavior.
It’s a common misconception that people who enjoy scary movies or ghost tours also enjoy being scared.
But this isn’t true fear. When people are legitimately afraid for their lives or safety, they will do whatever it takes to get away from the source of their fear.
As a result, we frequently make illogical decisions.
Fear, as a natural response to potentially harmful stimuli, drives us to act quickly when we feel threatened.
The amygdala, a brain region associated with fear, in particular, has the ability to override the prefrontal cortex, a region associated with rational behavior that reacts more slowly.
As a result, when we perceive danger, we take immediate and, at times, irrational measures to protect ourselves.
When there is an influenza pandemic, for example, many people use hand sanitizers as a precautionary measure. However, we do so without much thought; there is no evidence that they are beneficial, but we use them anyway because we are afraid for our survival.
We are concerned about becoming our “feared self,” a persona we actively try to suppress, in addition to real threats.
Nobody wants to hear that they appear exhausted, unfit, or unsanitary, for example. To avoid being taken advantage of, people frequently make irrational decisions, particularly when making purchases.
According to one 2008 study, showing consumers a version of themselves that they feared would happen in the future was the most effective way to get them to buy. Consider how much money people spend on cosmetics in order to avoid being judged as unattractive or unkempt.
Lesson 2: Addiction to products and retail therapy is real.
What would you do if you had to give up your phone, your morning jolt, and your lipstick all at once? Many people, however, are unable to do so, and some may even develop a serious addiction.
This disorder’s symptoms can range from mild, such as being unable to put down your phone for more than an hour, to severe, life-threatening conditions, such as going bankrupt due to excessive shopping.
Many people in today’s society believe they have developed an addiction to a specific substance. For example, 34% of Stanford University students reported being addicted to their smartphones.
Furthermore, the brain changes associated with this type of addiction are the same as those associated with more well-known addictions such as drugs or love (which is, technically speaking, an addiction to your lover).
One study, for example, discovered that the insula, a brain region, was activated in young American adults (18-25) who heard or felt the vibrations of their iPhones. When we are in love, this area of the brain also lights up.
Shopping addiction, on the other hand, works in a slightly different way. When shopping addicts go out, they get a rush of dopamine, a chemical that also causes euphoria.
However, the addict’s dopamine levels quickly return to normal, and the addict’s mood declines.
They will want to do it again as soon as they can after experiencing such an adrenaline rush. To maintain the same level of “high,” they must increase their “hit” each time, resulting in ever-increasing amounts spent during shopping binges.
Lesson 3: We are easily swayed by the opinions of our peers because we want to belong.
Do you turn your head to see what someone is looking at if they are looking behind you?
If this describes you, you’re not alone; most people are sheep when it comes to making decisions. This is a very natural human tendency, as we are constantly imitating the actions of those around us.
Because of the influence it has on its targets, it is known as “peer pressure.” But for what purpose?
Humans are well-known for our ability to form close bonds with others. We evolved a desire to conform to the norms of our social group in order to feel included.
In one experiment, 14-month-old infants were taught to play with a set of toys before being observed by untrained infants.
After watching the trained infants play with the toys for two days, the untrained infants knew what to do with them when the researchers presented them with them.
Furthermore, when people do not feel like they belong, it causes them great discomfort. In one study, 200 people were asked to walk around the room, but only 10% of them were told which way to go. The 200 participants eventually all went in the same direction because they were all trying to conform to the group norms.
Finally, because of peer pressure, we frequently want what our peers have.
In another experiment, participants were given cookies to eat while watching a short video. At first, only about 20% of them nibbled on the cookies. They then had someone enter the room without offering them a cookie to see how they reacted. Everyone in the room began grabbing cookies at the same time.
The fear of “missing out” causes one person to steal something, and the rest of the group to follow suit.
Lesson 4: While nostalgic feelings are good for our health, they can also cloud our judgment and cause us to misremember the past.
The shows we watched as children are often remembered fondly by adults. Despite the fact that they were most likely poorly produced animations, we will likely come to regard them as works of art.
To blame is nostalgia, which is a deep and sentimental yearning for a bygone era.
But why do we feel this ache?
To begin, it has been proven that reflecting on happier times is beneficial to our health. Rewriting history in a more positive light, also known as “rosy remembering,” is a defense mechanism for some against traumatic experiences that may limit their ability to move forward.
Women, for example, may decide against having children if they recall the agony of childbirth in excruciating detail on a regular basis.
However, if they look on the bright side, such as the joy of meeting their new baby, they may be willing to go through it all again.
Second, remembering “the good old days” has been shown to lift spirits and even strengthen interpersonal bonds.
For example, in a 2006 study, participants were polled on their levels of nostalgia as well as other measures of emotional intelligence, such as their ability to provide emotional support for friends and form new relationships. Students who were more prone to sentimental reflection performed better in interpersonal relationships.
Looking back on the past, on the other hand, can be harmful. As a result, we may recall past events that did not actually occur.
One well-known experiment involved tricking participants into thinking they saw Bugs Bunny when they were younger at Disney World. The fact that Warner Bros. owns Bugs makes this scenario impossible.
However, the researchers were successful in influencing the participants’ memories by eliciting a sentimental response from them.
Now that you know what makes us choose one brand over another, let’s look at how marketers use this knowledge to persuade us to buy their products.
Brainwashed is a great book I’d like to recommend to anyone who is interested in marketing.
Marketers and advertisers are well aware of your psychological weaknesses. They take advantage of this information by developing products with a high potential for addiction, appealing to your fears and nostalgia, and exploiting your desire to feel like you belong in a group. A thorough understanding of these techniques can assist you in making more informed purchasing decisions.
When you go to buy your favorite breakfast juice the next time, consider whether your preference is based on memories or simply habit. If that’s the case, today might be an excellent time to try something new—and who knows, you might even find something better!
Don’t succumb to fear and make a purchase immediately after seeing a commercial. When people are afraid, they exhibit irrational behavior. Advertisers may exaggerate a problem in order to persuade you to buy their products.
How To Get Rich By Reading and Writing?
You must be an avid reader who is hungry for knowledge if you are reading this book summary. Have you thought about making money using your reading and writing skills?
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