Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Make the customers think they are missing out - and they will come running! FOMO is increasing with social media

alttextThis is an idea from Springwise that came in the newsletter today (sign up! great ideas delivered every day). Springwise reports that:

"Swedish rapper Adam Tensta has followed suit with his single ‘Pass It On’, which can only be heard by one person at a time through a Facebook app designed especially for the musician. 

Eschewing the traditional route of trying to get content to as wide an audience as possible as quickly as possible, the rapper’s single requires fans to visit his Facebook page and install the passiton app, after which they will be placed in a queue. A message is then sent to the email address linked to the user’s Facebook account when it is their turn to listen to the track, which must be done within one hour of receiving the email. 

The concept seeks to bring a unique experience to the listener through the exclusivity of being the only person in the world listening to the song at that moment, as well as attempting to recreate the feeling of passing on a physical record. The app allows users to see where in the world the song is currently being played, along with previous locations, and an infographic shows how far it has spread across the globe. 

With just over 100 listens at the time of writing, the single is destined to be a slow burner. However, the unique experience the app offers the listener, and the increased press the approach will bring to Adam Tensta, could reap rewards of it’s own. How else could digital products be given a novel twist by taking inspiration from their physical equivalents?"

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This may not become the campaign of the year but I love the entrepreneurial vibe of it. It´s a little crazy experiment, and in this there might be a seed of something bigger to come. The rapper plays with the psychological power of scarcity. When we are exposed to a threat of missing out, we tend to buy - just in case.

This experiment, presented in the psychologist Daniel Kahneman´s "Thinking, fast and slow", is interesting: A few years ago, supermarket shoppers in Sioux City, Iowa, encountered a sales promotion for Campbell´s soup at about 10% off the reular price. On some ays, a sign on the shelf said LIMIT OF 12 PER PERSON. On other days, the sign said NO LIMIT PER PERSON. Shoppers purchased an average of 7 cans when the limit was in force, twice as many as they bought when the limit was removed. 

The "rule" or trick is also used in the viral phenomenon "Kony 2012" where the call to action has an expiry date! You need to act against injustice before the end of the year - which is of course simply a way to make us feel a sense of urgency. Why would a humanitarian campaign suddenly finish up, leaving the children of Uganda just because the campaign is over, like it was a "pop up charity", which of course leads us to "pop up" shops, restaurants and bars... We come running, since we think it´s our last chance. 

This is also closely connected to JWT Intelligence great report on FOMO - Fear of missing out - which is a huge part of our culture of unlimited choices, of stress and press to do everything, be everywhere and have bucket lists of the size of a child´s Christmas letter to Santa. Many people are scared of stillness, due to the fear of not using every minute to do something spectacular. The trend is naturally talking about the A type personalities, the ADHD people of the world, but those are increasing in numbers with the stress from other people´s Facebook and Twitter updates, making us think OTHER people are always doing something fun, exciting and meaningful. 

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