Indecision by Abundance
Paralysis by analysis is real. Emotions create movement.
“Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” — Psalms 23:5
It’s hard to imagine what daily life was like 120 years ago.
In the city, horses and automobiles shared the roads. Gas-lamps and electric lights co-existed in the evenings. Move a few dozen miles out to the rural areas, and the modern comforts were less distributed: electricity, phones, and even indoor plumbing had yet to become universal.
For small-town America, the general store was where they did their marketing, with few selections on the shelves. Anything not visibly available could be ordered by the manager from his suppliers, or directly from the catalog from the recently-formed Sears & Roebuck.
In 1898, the New York Biscuit Company and the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company merged to form the National Biscuit Company, made up of some 50 bakeries. And in 1912, they introduced what would become their most popular product, Oreo cookies.
Of course, you know them as Nabisco today, and the Oreo brand extensions are everywhere. Growing up when I did, it was a huge development when Double Stuff Oreos were introduced. Before that, there was simply one kind of Oreo.
And you liked it!
But now? Now you walk down the cookie aisle at the supermarket, and you have your choice: there are Golden Oreos, Red Velvet Oreos, Summer Oreos, Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Thin Oreos, Mocha Oreos, Apple Cider Donut Oreos, Carrot Cake Oreos…
By some counts, there are as many as 85 varieties of Oreos now.
It’s just too much.
Now think about some of the other items you might be shopping for, and how many brand extensions there are of those: orange juice, toothpaste, yogurt — even milk!
With so many choices, we freeze up. The profusion of items has left us paralyzed when we wanted to make a simple decision. Then suddenly the hunt for the plain-old main brand that much more difficult for us.
As a leader, it’s your job to connect with the emotions of the audience you’re trying to reach. It could be your employees or your customers, but the point is the same: create an emotional connection that goes beyond facts and logic.
Because we don’t make decisions from logic alone. Or at all, sometimes.
It is emotion that gets the heart pumping or the blood boiling. Emotion makes us move.
In this week’s book recommendation (see below), we find patient Elliot, a brain cancer survivor whose frontal lobe had to be removed with surgery. His intellect remained intact, but the procedure completely destroyed the center of emotion processing in his brain. As a result, he was unable to make any decisions and his life fell apart.
We’re all being turned into Patient Elliott because we’re being forced to become emotionally detached from brands. We end up suffering from the inability to choose because of a surplus of content and products.
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