“People like us, do things like this” is a motto coined by marketer and all round big brain Seth Godin. The idea is that all of our choices are governed by our deep-seated beliefs about culture. I only use Apple products, go to brunch and cocktails, have adventurous holidays twice a year, want to have kids by the time I’m 30. These are all ideas tied in with an identity.
What is it about brunch? Out of all the meals, this is the coolest. Despite being a conglomerate, neither breakfast nor lunch can compete. When you hear the word “brunch,” you can immediately visualise the type of person who has brunch. You see smashed avocado on sourdough with a soy latte or mimosa. If you then want to identify with the type of person whom you feel partakes in this activity, you will be more likely to partake in the activity yourself. I want to be that person!
You’re Apple or Microsoft. Starbucks or Independent. Supermarket chain or local grocer. Meat or vegan. Runner or Crossfit. Netflix or books. As much as we want to feel as if we’re doing something solely based on what it is, a lot of the reasons why we do things, is because of the image we associate with it.
At any point, you can align with a different tribe but it requires to you to look at what qualities you associate with that movement. David Attenborough did a fantastic job of highlighting the harm that eating meat is having on the planet in his recent documentary “A Life on Our Planet.” If we were purely concerned with the wellbeing of our planet, it would be an easy decision to give up meat. Unfortunately for the planet, most of us feel that a change of diet would be too difficult and on top of that we have set ideas about people who are vegan/vegetarian.
We gravitate towards people who we feel are like us, we distance ourselves from people who we feel aren’t like us. If I feel the vegan lifestyle is appealing, it’s more likely I will be willing to make the appropriate sacrifices because it’s worth it and I will want to identify with that.
Next time you’re struggling to understand your friends weird decisions, try and understand the types of people that they want to associate with. I don’t understand the fascination with Gucci or Supreme but I can understand that there are people who want to identify with that culture.
These beliefs are deeply entrenched in our subconscious. They govern every aspect of our days, from the time we chose to wake up, the job we choose to do, to the types of foods we consume. Being aware of how life is marketed to you will allow you to be more conscious of how you are choosing to consume it.