We often think of lust as sexual, but it really describes an intense desire for any item. When we lust after something we stop thinking rationally. We only look for additional reasons to have it, not for reasons to abstain. So, once people have that craving, it doesn’t take much to of a nudge to turn desire into action by convincing them to fulfill those lustful feelings.
Lust is a strong emotion. Tapping in to that emotion gives control over many elements of a person’s life. Without lust, it’s unlikely we’d feel the irrational need to possess things that others have or keep more stuff than we actually need. Lust is the starting point; envy and greed are the results.
To harness lust, companies must first get people to like them, so that they feel better inclined to do what the company wants. Then the company can create feelings of obligation in their customers using reciprocation; giving customers a small gift in order to get a larger commitment from them in the future. The gift need not even be anything tangible, so long as it fuels lust and thus breaks down the barriers of rational thought.
Say “I love you”: Flattery makes people more responsive to persuasion.
Be the second best: Game theory and self-esteem dictate that in a competitive space, we’ll avoid the top of the pack.
Frame your message as a question: “Have you considered why so many people are switching to our brand from the competition?”
Create an in-group: Show customers that they belong to your preferred group, and they will take on and defend its traits.
Give something in order to get something: People will feel obliged to reciprocate.
Make something free: Make something free, and rationality disappears. You can recoup the money elsewhere.
Sell the intangible value: Reality is costly to change, perception less so.
Make a request in order to be seen more favorably: The Ben Franklin effect shows that people who have done us a favor see us in a better light.
Mae West was right when she said that flattery will get you everywhere. If you are seen as smart, but not too smart, you’re in a good position to be liked because you are subconsciously raising the self-esteem of your audience. Creating an in-group of ‘believers’ and giving them a reason to believe will subsequently create defenders of your awesomeness.
Of course, this doesn’t just happen for free. You have to give to get and sometimes, as Ben Franklin demonstrated, in extreme cases you might even have to get to get.