Last year, we featured a piece on Branding Strategy Insider called FEAR: The Ultimate Brand Builder? In which we explored the ways fear and scarcity are used to motivate and persuade consumers to take action, and ideas to harness such a powerful motivation without having to rely on it. As Ted-talk phenom and author Brene Brown observed, “We live in a culture with a strong sense of scarcity. We wake up in the morning and we say, ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ And we hit the pillow saying, ‘I didn’t get enough done.’ We’re never thin enough, extraordinary enough or good enough – until we decide that we are. For me, the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It’s enough. I’m enough. My kids are enough.”
One might argue that in the last five years, the problem has gotten worse – the bit about our culture having a strong sense of scarcity. As Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker says, “It’s easy to get discouraged by the ceaseless news of violence, poverty, and disease. But the news presents a distorted view of the world. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. You never see a TV crew reporting that a country isn’t at war, or that a city hasn’t had a mass shooting that day, or that millions of 80-year-olds are alive and well.” In fact, violent crime has fallen by half since 1992. Worldwide, fewer babies die, more children go to school, more people live in democracies, more can afford simple luxuries, fewer get sick, and more live to old age. It doesn’t mean things are perfect, or that some parts of the world are worse, but generally speaking, things on a whole are better today for most of the world.
So why all of the fear?