How Bacon and Social Media Have Influenced Your Life Completely [PODCAST]
Bacon. For many, just the word evokes a mouth-watering reaction. Just think about it right now. Go on. The Internet is full of memes depicting sizzling, delicious bacon, inviting you to run to the grocery store, pick some up, fry and devour it asap. But it wasn’t always so. What? There was a time when the world didn’t fantasize about bacon? It’s true. But a man by the name of Edward Bernays changed all that, and paved the way for social media marketing.
Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, was the pioneer of what we know today as public relations and marketing. He was highly influential, and still is, because his work laid the building blocks and case studies that we still use today.
Sigmund Freud played a big part of Bernays work, by providing insight into the psychoanalysis of the human mind and how it can be altered to improve the lives of consumers through marketing, or more efficiently phrased as propaganda. Bernays often promoted life improving messaging to mask the motives of his clients, including Procter and Gamble, Cartier, Dodge Motors and General Electric. Do you have any emotional ties to these brands? I’m sure you have at least one.
What was the secret to his mastery? Bernays’ campaigns worked beautifully by convincing people to purchase things that they didn’t necessarily need, or at least didn’t think they needed until influence took over. Influence is an extremely powerful medium, and one that many business owners don’t consider in their marketing. In modern digital marketing, Bernays’ principles and tactics still apply. Where Bernays once used billboards, magazine ads and radio, we now use influence through social media.
How often have you been at the store and been faced with the decision to purchase a name brand or a generic brand? And how often have you opted to purchase the name brand, even though, deep in your heart, you know the generic brand will be just as good despite the reduced cost? What is it that makes us purchase the name brand? Do we really believe it will be a better quality, or have we been wired or influenced to buy the more known and trusted product?
What Bernays believed was that we have the ability to link a consumer’s unconscious needs and desires to the mass production of goods. That’s how his clients made money.
The Secret Behind Bacon
Let’s go back to bacon. Bernays was most known for his influence of introducing bacon at the breakfast table. In a clip, Bernays discusses his genius behind his bacon campaign:
“Many years ago, our client was the Beech-Nut Packing Company. We made a research and found out that the American public ate very light breakfasts of coffee, maybe a roll and orange juice. We went to a physician and found that a heavy breakfast was sounded of the standpoint of health than a light breakfast because the body loses energy during the night and needs it during the day. We asked the physician, after telling him why we were talking to him, would be be willing, at no cost, to write to 5,000 physicians and ask them whether their judgement was the same as his and confirmed his judgement. He said he would be glad to do it. We carried out a letter to 5,000 physicians. Obviously, all of them concurred that the heavy breakfast was better for the health of the American people than a light breakfast. That was publicized in the newspapers. Newspapers throughout the country had headlines that said 4,500 physicians urge heavy breakfasts in order to improve the health of American people. Many of them stated that bacon and eggs should be embodied with the breakfast, and as a result, the sale of bacon went up.”
Bernays knew that irrelevant objects could somehow become powerful emotional symbols and you, too, could influence others by having them. He wasn’t marketing to your intellect, but to your emotions. People don’t just buy things, they engage with them, and that my friends is the true power of social media.
It isn’t enough to ask your audience to purchase something. You need to ask yourself, what emotion are you attaching to that product or service? Is it compelling and actionable? If you’re selling women’s clothing, for example, you aren’t selling the item. You need to get your head out of that mindset. Don’t worry about it being on sale or the right color, but instead focus your efforts on selling the reaction to the item itself. What type of person is going to wear this and how do you want them to want to feel when they put it on? What do they need and desire in their life and how can your product or service be marketed to make them believe that it will fill that need? Are you promoting love, sex or desire? Or perhaps they want to be happy and carefree? Or maybe they’re looking for power and strength?
So, how do we do we apply Bernays principles to our own brands? The secret is third party authorities, or better know as influencers.
Bernays knew that the American public would listen to the people they trusted most – their physicians. So, ask yourself, who does my potential customer or client trust most? Perhaps that person is already you. I’ve known many business owners who are already influential, because they’ve built an influential brand or persona, perhaps sometimes by accident.
It’s time to step it up and build your network of influential people – people who will shout about your products or service because they either a) really love you or b) you’ve paid them to do it. The latter part is usually the most feasible. Influencers, or even joint venture partners, can help push your message out to a larger audience, quickly, and be mutually beneficial.
So, who are these influencers? Well, it depends on your audience. Are you like Bernays, looking to win over the health industry? If you are, those people might be doctors. Are you a designer and want eyes on your newest product? Maybe you’re looking for stylists, fashion bloggers or influential Instagram users. Influencers can help with pushing out your message in the form of email campaigns, product placements, post sponsorships, social media engagement parties (like Twitter chats), and more. Soon, you’ll have customers lining up to get some of your mouth-watering products or services. You’ll be the newest sizzling bacon and everyone will want a piece of you.
Connect with Influencers Online
If you’re a brand, looking to connect with Influencers, quickly and easily, then you’ll definitely want to check out these handy services:
Manage Your Influencers
If you’re looking to take your influencers into your own hands and really search, manage and monitor their activities, then you’ll want to check out these apps:
What marketing has influenced your life? Let me know in the comments below.