What's your addiction?

Change the story and you change the game. It's not rocket science. It's Marketing 101.

It is, in this mad rush to be endlessly connected, what we have fundamentally forgotten.

The call and response of the courtship ritual.

It would appear the new data science of stalking the customer on social media is disrupting the art of seduction.

But at what cost?

Old school consumer marketing - Television, Radio and Magazine advertising - was all about using "lifestyle appeals" to demonstrate how the product may enhance the customer's lifestyle and/or self-image.

This "toying with the buyer's conscious" was called creative advertising.

Lifestyle appeals were created through comprehensive market research programs, undertaken by sociologists and psychologists, to find out what our greatest fears are (i.e. loneliness, family upheaval, sexual disapproval, social stigma...). The advertiser then packageed the product as a failsafe solution to one or more of these social problems.

The product was promoted as the social proof.

In medieval times one simply made a call to one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins.

The seven original game changers:

Lust, Envy, Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Laziness or Anger.

Now try substituting the word "advertising" with the word "viral app" or meme. Substitute the phrase "quality attributes" with the phrase "functionality". Substitute the phrase "lifestyle appeal" with the phrase "Social Proof".

Better still substitute the phrase "Social Proof" with the phrase "Deadly Sin"

You see where this is going?

That's right. The stories that encourage us to engage with the life changing mobile gadget, app, viral message or social media network are all tied to one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

For example...

  • Think Snapchat. Think Sexting. Think [young] Lust.
  • Think iPhone. Think of anything else beginning with the definitive i (e.g. iPad/iPod/iMac). Think Envy.
  • Think BitCoin. Think Bubble. Think Greed.
  • Think Klout or the number of followers and friends you have on Twitter or Facebook. Think measuring social influence. Think Pride. (Yes, this also applies to any product targeting geeks. i.e. requires a super user just to install the app)
  • Think Spotify. Think all the music you can consume. Think Gluttony.
  • Think eCommerce in all its forms. Think price comparison without have to do the walking. Think Laziness. (Yes, this also applies to Google's Search Engine)
  • Think Angry Birds. Think Wrath/Anger. (Yes, it's easy when the sin is embedded in the title)

This then is the golden rule of marketing consumer products. Be it Soap, Food, Travel, Fashion, Mobile Apps, Gadgets or Web Sites. At their very core lies a Deadly Sin. It is this sin that provides the catalyst for viral growth.

It is the deadly sin that fuels the ignition narrative that invites curiosity. The hook that catches the fish. But, most of all, it becomes the habit that binds the consumer to the experience... and, yes, ultimately, encourages them to share the experience with others.

Ask yourself this question: What's your deadly sin?

Because it is that addiction
- that deadly sin -
that will make your product or service a game changer.

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