On marketing and perception, part 2/3

If I asked you who defines the reality we live in, you would probably think that it’s a strange question. So let’s examine this with a simple question.

How was this guy commonly referred to?

No, not creepy weirdo. The other one.

That’s right, the King of Pop. But have you ever wondered how he became the King? Did he do battle with other peons of pop to eventually rise up as the ruler of popdom? Is there a a section of the UN that governs over the royalty of popular culture (there are at least The Duke, a Princess and a Queen)? Or maybe he was thrown a Sword of Pop by a lady in the lake thus giving him this prestigious role.

One might wonder about the succession of this Kinghood. Did he get his from the King of Kings who had died just before his career got off? And now that the King of Pop is dead, who is the next King? Is it this guy:

These were among the questions that Howard Stern thought about a long time ago. He realized that no-one had actually named Michael Jackson the King of Pop, he had just started calling himself that. So he decided to try the same thing just to see if it worked, even though he was just a radio show host (though a pretty successful one at that). So he started calling himself King of All Media. The results were quite interesting.

People started treating him as if he truly were King of All Media. At interviews he was always presented as King of All Media and even regular people commonly referred to him as that. He had not done any media conquests or anything like that. He simply started behaving as if he were the King and people treated him as such. In effect, he had altered reality simply through his will.

This is not an isolated incident. There is also the case of Norton I, the Emperor of the United States. He was a businessman who lost his fortune, went insane and declared himself emperor. He was then treated like an emperor. People wrote him letters pretending to be various heads of state, issued currency in his name and even attended his funeral by the tens of thousands. In his mind he truly was the emperor, simply because chose to be.

To come back to the original question: reality is defined people’s view on the world. Those views are not actually based on anything in the same way buildings are based on the ground they rest on. So if you want to change the world, all you have to do is to pretend that the change has already happened and behave accordingly. The really scary part is that other people will start believing it (though it’s not in any way guaranteed that over two people will ever See the Light as You Intended).

This is what advertising is based on: choosing how you want the world to be and then repeating it over and over and over and over again. Eventually reality changes and your message has become fact.

And that is why plants crave Brawndo: it’s got electrolytes.