Friday, 17 May 2013
Sex, we all know about that one.
Food, that no longer comes as a surprise either.
More and more often I see hotel websites using photos of tasty dishes, even before showing a photo of a room; exactly because the web designer knows that our taste buds jump into action. Our reptilian brain craves that food, wants instant satisfaction - but the only action we can take is click on buttons.
It is no miracle that websites offering pizza deliveries come with such a high, if not the highest average conversion rate: such websites can turn 10% up to a staggering 15% of their visitors into buyers.
The visitor was already thinking about eating (if not, he or she would not search for online pizza delivery), and seeing all those colourful pizzas and melting cheese... no, that's too much. No way that we are going to browse for another pizzeria, or compare prices. We click. We want it now.
Danger however, is less obvious.
But is it?
From reading a thriller or whodunit to watching a horror movie, from bungee to parachute jumping, from rollercoasters to backpacking through a country everyone warns us about... there is a strange magnetism between us humans and danger.
Rest assured, I won't start again about those hundreds of thousands of years, all alone with the sabre tooth tigre in the savannah! (Dracula, anyone? Vampires? Even Hannibal The Cannibal has got sharp teeth).
The best and surefire way to get your young kid addicted to cigarettes, is to forever repeat just how much you forbid him to do that (him, since males are more attracted to danger than females).
If our governments really wanted to protect us against smoking, they would forbid it. Easy as pie. But they can't. A large part of our economy and tax department depends on it. They do have to act as though they protect us. Dilemma...
So, there you go: "Smoking kills"! "Smoking harms your health"!
Everyone satisfied. Big Tobacco is, and the governments save face.
If you truly want people to stop smoking, you start by stripping it of its sex appeal (done), and replace the message of danger by photos of healthy, happy people.
(We would not say 'stop' or 'quit' smoking either; that makes a human feel to be a loser, a quitter. We tend to want to start something, not stop. 'Start a healthy life' or 'break free' would work much better).
Last year we performed a test in my small village. A group of people was led through the village, and then to a house where the door was open. Then we stood in the living room and hushed everyone to be quiet; the landlord did not know we were there.
Sure, part of the group followed because of the navigation: the guides acting all normally, as though it was part of the plan. Another part followed because they knew it to be set-up. But a 3rd part really thought we were entering someone's privacy and cooperated... because it was exciting. They felt like being naughty kids again.
Which, in the end, we all are and, sometimes, like to be.
Safety is the foundation of the Piramid of Maslow, and thus highly attractive. And as per usual, the opposite is also true: once the desire for safety has been fulfilled or secured, we feel the annoyingly attractive invitation of danger, to come and join, if only for a while.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Monday, 13 May 2013
That is as much as saying: "I've got nothing to do with that creep"!
We use the word 'friends' all day long; there are sayings about good neighbours being better than far away friends; songs about friendship being an illusion; and a TV show about friends ran 9 seasons long and turned an army of actors, writers and half of Hollywood into billionaires...
Friendship touches a nerve accross all countries, cultures and classes.
So what, if a far away friend is not as good as a good neighbour? A good neighbour is a friend. He or she displays all the characteristics, respect and understanding, at the right time at the right moment in the right dosis; and consequently is the right sort of friendship at the right time and place.
So what, if friendship is 'an illusion'? Can we live without illusions, especially one as beautiful as this one?
There is no such thing as just '2 ships passing in the night'; for at that moment in time, in that situation, during that passing by and exchanging a silent flash light greeting, they are each others' life rescuers.
I'd rather have that illusion-far-away-temporary thing than anything else in the world.
They say 'friends help each other with everything'. As though we're an association of handymen. Which only shows how difficult it is for us to define friendship, or tell what it actually is.
Personally I believe: friends are those people who lift each other up to a higher level.
We are all climbing. We want to climb. It's in our nature to climb. To go higher, increase our potential, ensure that we leave life as a better person than when we arrived.
The hand that comes down from the sky to pull us up; that hand belongs to a person who is or will become a true friend.
At one point that hand will be exhausted, it will loose the energy or focus to climb... and then we are the ones to stop and help our friend to climb further.
'Choose your friends wisely'. I believe that not a single quote in this whole blog is as important as this one.
Do not look for better advice in this blog - or anywhere else for that matter - not regarding happiness nor regarding a career, not regarding motivation and not regarding remuneration, not regarding health nor regarding success in online marketing - as this one.
If you wish to turn your life into a long, wide, tranquil river; this is the source. Friendship.
There will be friends who will wish you to stay with them, forever stuck and content on the same rock. Or will wish to bring you down. A friendship can be a chain, a dog lead or even a poison.
There will be times you wonder 'what on earth am I doing in this friendship'? Asking that question, is knowing the answer.
Are you going to end that friendship? Are you going to use it for self-development, and analyse what it is in the other that made you friends in the first place? Or... are you going to be a true friend and help the other to get onto a better frequency?
The chemical reaction named friendship is a massively strong one. It can propel 2 people towards the stars, just as it can bring 2 people down.
The one who reaces for the stars, should be the strongest hand.
That can be exhausting. You might bump into 9 seasons of objections, misunderstanding, refusal, negativity... someone who has sat on the same rock for years, has developed rusty limbs. If not, resistant ones. No elephant might be able to pull him or her higher.
In such an occasion, you might have to let go. But not until you have done everything you could.
For in the first place, you need to be a good friend, you need to develop your friendship muscle.
If we want to have good friends, we have to put ourselves onto the friendship frequency.
Do not give a person what he wants. Nor what he needs. Pull him up towards that shimmering light up there. That star we all feel that exists.
Friends are people who help each other detect and climb towards their potential.
We all want to shine, and friends are the ones who are going to make that happen, and we for them.
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Take a FEW seconds to think about it: Just how many times do you act and seem to be a living person... but you are simply not there?
Your thoughts are in the past, or in the future, with the bill at the table miles away or a problem at the office where you are not.
And there is nothing as rich, full, 4-dimensional and beautiful as the here and now.
Living in the now is an excercise in happiness, health, beauty - everything.
It doesn't matter if your current state is a 'negative' one: feeling sad or depressed or sceptical. Those too are human emotions that you need to go through, come with their beauty and purpose (if only because we can only achieve the summit if we've gone through the valley).
PS: What is this doing in a blog of a web designer? Everything. Split second persuasion is the basis of all successful marketing. You need the 'now' to be at the same wave length as your website visitors.
Monday, 6 May 2013
More: in order to understand humans, you need to understand yourself.
You are the door, the doorman and the person on the street handing out flyers or asking people to come in.
Just as the youngster at the door of a discotheque, you are not only asking this to the right people with the right, trendy attire, you also need to be like them.
I could never be very good at organizing a marketing campaign directed at Americans. Nor at those who like soccer and beer. I excel in marketing towards that part of the market that likes Jack Daniels, listens to Jazz and buys Mercedes.
That might sound arrogant. Which it does so, because it is.
How is it that such a simple expression has become the most famous, most known and most appreciated of all ancient Greek aphorisms?
You would think that more intelligent things have been said since the era of ancient Greece. And aren't there dozens and dozens of more spectacular, heartbreaking or extremely funny sayings or quotes? Every single day you find thousands of them on Facebook.
Having wandered over this earth for 45 years, I tend to state it's almost the only thing that matters.
This blog is about marketing, and thus about humans... and thus about you and you going on an exploration of you, all your caves, sunny and shadowy sides, up to the smallest corners of your mind and body.
My thanks to all my friends out there who help me to understand people. When someone asks me how I get these high rankings in search engines, I can only say: because of my friends. You make me fly.
Three years later 13 people died at their hands at the Columbine High School Massacre.
Would they never have met, nothing much would have happened. But this inexplicable friendship shaped a Perfect Storm: dominant, sadistic boy meets depressed inferiority complex.
Any friendship is a variation of 'being in love'. For it creates a chemical reaction, resulting in something that is bigger than the sum of the parts. You could say it's a third person.
Nor Bill nor Hillary would ever have made it to president of the United States. It was Billary who did that. Brangelina is world famous. Both Nicolae and Elena were breathtakingly mediocre people - but 'the Ceausescu's' were a dragon from hell.
For our genes are not always aspiring to find that partner who will optimize the chances of our offspring. It can be something else too.
'I love you, because you have what I'm lacking. And I have what you lack'.
I'm too much Brain and you too much Heart. Together we find an ideal equilibrium, improving both of us, polishing our edges and make ourselves more healthy and happy.
Our genes are over the moon with that. They just want to reproduce, ad nauseam, and want to find the most optimized 'recipe' for survival.
Look at that too tall man with that tiny girl. Their genes would not want to create a giant nor dwarf. Look at that extrovert with the extravert, the intellectual with the Lolita, the shrewd businessman with the innocent blonde.
Mind, we do not have to reproduce together - I can also use your useful lesson for my reproduction with someone else - nor do we have to leave babies of flesh and blood; our collision can result in something completely new, powerful and immaterial.
Let the friendship between you and me be a good love. May the magnets that draw us together, result in something good. Let's leave a 'baby' that contributes and builds, rather than destroys.
I believe even the relationship between a writer and a reader is one of love.
Every very interesting conversation in a bar is, and every moment of silence shared by two strangers is.
Agree with me or don't. React positivily or negativily, that doesn't matter.
For on our own, we are rough and sharp stones. It is only by being dragged down this furious river called life, colliding with and bumping into other stones, that is making us round and smooth; a brilliant beautiful stone at the riverbank, shining in the sun.
Friday, 3 May 2013
These are our control centres. The 3 pilots in our cockpit.
Sure, that is a matter of speaking. In reality they represent the layers of our brain, and how it evolved over the course of 5 million years:
The very primitive reptilian brain, then the limbic brain, responsible for emotions and memories, and the superstar of modern age, the neo cortex.
Friends playing cards: development of the neo cortex. School: neo cortex. TV quiz: neo cortex.
Just do the test for yourself: you are being confronted with a situation and, woosh, you feel how all energy is compressed together in some ball in your forehead.
This is so society-wide and perpetual, that the connection with our true inner feelings or most primitive instincts has become a very frail, thin and hesitant one. At every crossroads in our lives, after every single question that is asked: whoosh, we consult our neo cortex.
Because they are so fucking special!
It's the reason why Spaniards are so charismatic in the eyes of North Europeans. (Or why Spain is in such a mess every X decades).
One always has to think of Bill Clinton in this respect. There's no shortage of American presidents who were/are charismatic, but Clinton still tops the, er, bill.
He would look you in the eye. Touch your arm while listening. Look at you as though you were the most special person on earth, with a fascinating conversation.
Mind: this was no act. He DID love any person he met. It was not for political gain, not calculated. He was all heart - his heart searching for and vibrating on the same wave length as yours.
(Or, why he also made very bad and impulsive decisions).
But there's Reagan (balls and heart), there's Bush the younger (balls only)... you might not like their politics, but large masses did, and that was not about their politics, but for their charisma.
Obama, Nelson Mandela, MLK, Mother Theresa, Pope JP 2... charismatic people.
Neo cortex world provides us with safety, stability, justice, security. That's all great and precisely where we need to be. But sometimes, sometimes it also feels like hibernating, a place where everything is correct, and nothing beautiful.
Too much safety, and no more adventure. Everything marble and concrete, and no more greenery.
Meeting a charismatic person, is a very short escape towards that other oasis, we also long for but always suppress.
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Where you are right now, is exactly the place where you need to be.
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
He hands over contracts with stipulations. The host president responds with smiles, nods and a tea, to reinforce the harmony and beauty of the moment. One month later they are furious with one another. "Arabs are such liars"! "Americans are so rude"!
Aristotle or Plato... who is the better friend? It's impossible to tell. We need both.
And THAT's the truth, and nothing but the truth.
Do you want to tap into the feelings of thousands of people who, each day, in every sports store, feel that their wallets and dreams are in a never ending battle?