Mass Hallucination

I’m guy wearing the hat second from the right back row

Last weekend I attended Project Persuasion Goes Dark in Phuket.

Over 3 days I was lucky enough to rub shoulders and grab quick chats with legendary marketer Mark Joyner, personal branding genius Mitch Miller, and email wiz Brian Cassingena. And all while having my brain expanded by sessions on deep marketing psychology. Some of it was pretty dark too.

The good news is you won’t have to run a gauntlet of stray dogs each day, like I did, to learn it. Because I’m going to share the chunkiest golden nuggets with you.

First off, a post based on Mitch Miller’s session on why we’re all living a mass hallucination, and why the world’s not as real as we think…

Is the world real? Or are we living in a simulation?

 It’s a question that baffles the world’s brightest minds. And it’s beyond the scope of this post (or my brain’s capacity) to answer.

But what I can tell you is that all of us are experiencing the world in different ways.

 No, I’m not about to jump down the rabbit hole of alternative realities. What I’m talking about is how we all view the world through a  different “lens”.

 This lens dictate how we view ourselves, events, and the world around us. Over time, it gets filtered by our own biases and experiences. And it dictates how we think, behave, and the stuff we buy.

Buying Choices are Based on Fiction

 Let’s say you’re buying a new pair of jeans. Do you check the quality of the denim, the stitching on the inside leg (“selvedge” to fashionistas), or size of the pockets?

 Or do you just make a beeline for your favorite brand?

 Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all on a quest to be liked and validated. We buy things we think help us on this quest. And the choices we make are all based on our individual lens.

 So what is this lens exactly?

 It can be broken down into 2 layers:

1. Shared fiction “mass hallucination” layer

The world is filled with mass movements based on ideas.

Brands, money, and countries all started as ideas. But because enough people believe in them, they morphed to became accepted as true.

 The shared fiction layer has led to all sorts of subcultures, trends, and tribes emerging. Groups we all seek to belong to because of how we see the world and our place in it.

2. Individual fiction layer

This layer defines our own reality. It controls how we perceive ourselves and the tribes we think we belong to.

We believe this layer to be as true as the first layer. It’s how we experience the world so it seems real to us. But when you dig down, it’s even more false than the first layer.

Brands Look Different Through Different Lenses

We can only experience the world through our own lens. So you could say everything we know is an illusion. Just a single view on the vastness of human experience.

 Yet, our lens controls the brands we’re attracted to. We choose brands that reflect our own individual fiction and our desire for social status, prestige and belonging.

 Take Gucci, for example.

 To some people it’s the height of sophistication and glamour (more on “glamour” in an upcoming post). To others it’s garish, or even vulgar.

 But what matters for the person wearing Gucci is that through their own lens it satisfies their need for uniqueness and tribalism.

Your Copy Has to Satisfy Both Layers

I know this all sounds confusing and woo woo.

But the bottom line is that when writing about a brand you need to think how you can pitch it so it satisfies both layers of target buyer’s lens.

You need to explain how it meets their individual layer’s need for uniqueness and shared fiction layer of belonging to a tribe. Only then will they view it as a product that can help them on their quest to being liked and validated.

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