Don’t Eat My Strawberries
I was hoping it would be Dada. I’d even settle for something else like Pops or Old Man… I can’t be exactly sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say my son’s first word was actually Chickenfries. Yup, that one word just like that. And two years later, not much has changed.
My son is a very picky eater. I know all you parents out there are like “No Way!” – well ‘WAY!’ You all know what it’s like to get your children to sample the luxurious cuisine you slave over the stove to put out each day, and just like most of your children, my son wanted no part of it. He also wanted no part of vegetables (outside the form of straws), fruits (outside the form of gummies) or dairy or meat or miso soup or kale.
That is until one day, I tried implementing an old strategy passed on through secret storytellers throughout generations. That trick was called… persuasion, from the Latin persuadere. According to an Oxford study, there’s been a massive downtick in people talking about this strategy since the 1800’s and I’m not sure why.
Now, I’m not talking about manipulation. Manipulation is an unethical practice that essentially removes choice from the target. Persuasion is trying to incorporate influence, however, the choice still remains an option of the target.
My target: This toddler full of trans fats My mission: Get a piece of fruit past his gums My tactic: Persuasion
I had come to realize that quite often, BK (and most children) was extremely intrigued with anything that belonged to someone else. Much more so than anything that was his. Hmmm… Ok so I sat out a bowl of berries. I told him specifically “Those are Daddy’s berries, I need you to watch them for me, and whatever you do, DON’T EAT MY STRAWBERRIES”
Well, it’s about a year later now, and I haven’t been able to get a single strawberry into my mouth between the hours of 7am and 7pm. Same can be said for raspberries, bananas and even pot roast! So what did I learn here? Well, it turns out that wanting what other people have, isn’t a phenomenon that stops at childhood. Who would’ve guessed?
The moral of the story? If you’re trying to sell something, be it iPhones, coffee or a Mercedes… the real trick to doing so is positioning the product or the brand in a way, such that the target customer builds a desire to acquire your item. Have you ever seen a paparazzi photo of [insert any celebrity here] walking in the streets with a Starbucks coffee? I challenge you to look it up. I can virtually guarantee that the Starbucks logo is positioned directly in view of camera every single time. Coincidence? I’ll let you be the judge of that. Ever hear of the term influencer??
So my final point is, be aware that you are ALWAYS being marketed to. You are the target customer for thousands of brands, intent on persuading you to choose their products by positioning it in what looks like a candid circumstance with someone or something you hold in regard…. And more importantly, that if you’re selling anything (spoiler: Absolutely everything you do every day, in every way, is a sale of some sort) why not try this tactic out for yourselves and see what type of success you may have.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this kale sandwich since it’s about the only thing I can eat now without being attacked. Hey, nothing’s foolproof.