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The placebo effect in business: how to use and avoid getting caught

Placebo-suggestion based on experience and imagination-works well in business. If the problem is not solved by conventional methods, only the “magic pill”can help.

In evidence-based medicine, the placebo effect is used for scientific purposes-to compare with actual drugs, and in so-called alternative medicine-as in business, to make a profit.

The first to learn this trick were the healers of the middle Ages and successfully promoted medicine from dried toads, treatment with metal spokes and mercury lapping.

This newsletter is for those who do not want to fall for the bait of calculating marketers or, on the contrary, find the placebo effect useful for their business and want to use it in practice.

At factories in the Sverdlovsk region, we conducted a survey of the level of employee satisfaction.

At one of the factories, in addition to the salary and the lack of a Smoking room, the workers were not satisfied with the distance of the toilet: from the machine to the restroom they had to walk almost 500 meters.

The analysis showed that there is no possibility to move the toilets closer.

Then the toilet was repaired. The old terrible toilet got bright tiles, separate booths, automatic dryers and a cleaner. The ennobled bathroom demonstrated the care of the management.

After this slight change, labor indicators rose and satisfaction increased.

In fact, the situation has not changed, but the attention shown to the problem has radically changed the attitude of workers.

Companies often sell not the product itself, but the effect of its possession. The mythology of many famous brands is based on placebo.

People do not buy cameras, but the ability to take pictures, they do not buy shampoos, but the beauty of hair.

Initially, the EPL’s “Think differently” ad was developed as a response to the “Think like IBM” ad campaign.

But creative Director Rob Siltenen offered a script for a TV commercial that eventually turned into the famous “Dedication to mad men”.

In it, Apple stated that it makes tools for geniuses who are changing this world.

The moleskin notebook company also operates. They spend most of their advertising budget on product placement.

On TV screens, recognizable notebooks are used by Amelie, Dr. house, Sherlock Holmes (BBC), heroes of the TV series “Supernatural”, “Doctor Who” and others. Fans of heroes automatically think that by purchasing a notebook, they acquire the character traits of their favorite character.

You cannot change the buyer. But you can give it a tool to solve the problem. Solving the problem and wanting to change gives the desired effect.

This means that the company’s task is to correctly set up the customer for success. Then he will associate his own positive changes with a specific product or brand and will come for it again.

Form release
For placebo, the wrapper is very important. If you want the candy to have the effect of a medicine, it should look like a medicine and it should be prescribed by a person who looks like a doctor. You can’t leave a single loophole for doubt. It is in clinics with the most questionable treatment that the main attention is paid to how the staff looks and how the procedure looks. Their treatment does not work, but the client returns for the illusion of professionalism.

The second sign of a good medicine is the price.

When you play with the human mind, stereotypes are very important.

The pricing policy is simple:

cost = costs + cheat.

Stereotypes believe otherwise:

expensive and efficient.

Even if you make the discovery that the cold is treated with chalk in half with iodine, then only people with low income will buy your medicine at cost, but not money customers who are not concerned about the quality of life.

Psychologist Dan Arieli conducted an experiment in 2008: he recruited 82 volunteers and electrocuted each of them several times. After the procedure, the participant was offered to drink painkillers. Placebo played the role of the drug.

The first group was told that the pill cost 10 cents, the second-that the pill was bought for $ 2.5. In the first group, fake painkillers helped in 62% of cases, and in the second group, expensive substitution worked for 85%.

What we get for nothing has no value, and therefore does not bring benefits.

That is why there are so many diplomas in the psychologist’s office, and glass cabinets with enemas on the shelves in the treatment rooms — so that the therapeutic effect begins at the very threshold.

Indications for use
The placebo effect is the basis of any sale. Sometimes an employer hires a specialist and subconsciously hopes that the new employee will solve all the problems. HR’s told to look for a magic wand for all diseases. Therefore, each applicant is subjected to a thorough examination.

We are our own brand. Companies hire employees in the same way that advanced Housewives buy a microwave. The procedure for selecting a product or employee does not differ.

New employee New microwave
The salary Amount of the purchase
Summary Of Characteristics
Additional knowledge of Additional functions
Recommendations Reviews
The interviews Showcase in the store
Test task Test drive
Social Networks Advertising
But what if the characteristics, additional features, reviews, and even test-drive results of different microwave companies are the same?

The winner is the technique whose advertising more confidently promises a miracle effect after the purchase.

Employees on resumes try to look better than they do in real life. And the company is confident about going to the Vkontakte, Facebook or Instagram page, because that’s where we broadcast our life — creating ads for ourselves as a brand.

According to a study by CareerBuilder, a search engine resource, 45% of employers check the social networks of job seekers.

39% of HR respondents believe that publications on a personal page can directly or indirectly confirm the applicant’s professional skills. 35% of those who voted at least once rejected a candidate based on photos or posts from the network.

Of the two potential employees, if the profile of one is filled with photos of children and cats, and the profile of the other is decorated with selfies from professional conferences and quotes from famous speakers, in most cases, the second will be chosen.

But advanced HR’s know that an employee’s professionalism does not always depend on the fullness of social networks. Creating a network illusion of a successful life is also selling yourself as a placebo.

In March 2016, the network appeared instagram Boris Bork — in photos, a fit gray-haired man hugged beautiful girls, sat in an expensive car, took a selfie on a jog along the Moscow river and had lunch at the restaurant “Pushkin”.

From the captions to the photos, it could be concluded that the author is a very wealthy man, with his own business and expensive quirks. He knows how to solve problems. Boris began to write with offers of business ideas, girls wanted to meet him, TV companies invited him to the air, magazines – on advertising pages.

Only in October it became known that the man depicted in the photo is a pensioner from Khimki.

Roman Zaripov, a marketing specialist at the Nektarin Agency, and Misha Mishan, a blogger, suggested that Boris participate in a social experiment.

Creating an image of a millionaire cost 50 thousand rubles. For a couple of months, 33 thousand subscribers believed in the fake account, and several brands sent gifts to the nonexistent hero.

If people think you’re successful, they’re more likely to do business with you.

There is a hope that when you go up the hill, you will pull the Laggards behind you.

People want to surround themselves with people they want to be like, who they think is a winner. They think that by surrounding themselves with success, they become more successful themselves.

Effects of overdose
In medicine, a placebo is called a dummy-there are no drugs in a sugar pill. But this does not mean that there is no sugar pill itself.

A placebo in business works only if you want to sell a good product more profitably than competitors sell the same good product.

No placebo will make a bad product a miracle pill — for the effect, put a candy in the blister, and do not try to shove a dangerous bad-smelling muck.

The product may not produce the effect for which it is purchased. But it cannot fail to meet the requirements that it must meet.

In 1999, Coca-Cola launched A new brand — Dasani drinking water. The ad campaign stated that it is ” the purest water, ideal for relaxation.” The idea was based on the placebo effect-drinking water can not affect relaxation in any way.

However, thanks to the research of a British newspaper, it was found out that Dasani is ordinary tap water, purified in a special way.

And although, according to the company, “the cleaning system in the factories was developed by NASA for spacecraft”, people did not want to drink water from the tap.

The scandal caused a number of studies that found unacceptable impurities in bottled water. The Dasani brand went completely bankrupt, and the company issued an official apology to its customers.

Customers chose Dasani not because it tasted better than Perrier or cleaner than BonAqua, but because they were told that with this water they would get harmony and a healthy spirit.

But as soon as it became clear that, regardless of the harmony applied, it would be bad drinking water, people felt cheated.

Storage conditions
Often we are too unsure of our abilities, afraid of failure, or ready to lose. We need a magic pill that will convince us that everything will be fine. Then we will manage on our own, but we will not interfere with our fears and complexes.

Many of the changes that everyone craves first take place inside the skull: our success depends on self-confidence, and our performance depends on willpower. These personal qualities can not be affected by expensive cars, or pumped computers, or talented employees. But if you need a talisman for self-belief, healing, or a successful deal, you can use it.

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