Astrology. It’s probably not something you’d think would have an impact when it comes to marketing – but you couldn’t be more wrong. There are two different types of people in the world:
- the ones who see the benefits that come with astrology and horoscopes
- and those who choose to not believe in it
Whether you do or don’t believe that astrology and horoscopes are accurate, most people have at least read or listened to something regarding their sign and felt some connection to it.
But why are we correlating this with marketing? And why is it relatable?
Simply, because people love to be able to connect to something. They want it to feel personable to them, even when it comes to companies and organisations reaching out for marketing purposes. It is why businesses that implement systems to focus on the trust and foundations of the relationships they have with their customers are successful.
Astrology is popular for a reason. Whilst it is highly repetitive and sometimes perceived as nonsense, the relation that all people can have to it is why it is still a huge market, and an opportunity for businesses to tap into. How? You may ask…
Let’s get to the bottom of it.
In 1948, psychologist Bertram Foret created an experiment with a collection of students in his class. He proceeded to give them all a personality test that in the end would give them a unique look into their characters. After the students got the test report, they were asked to evaluate the accuracy of their character description – they were extremely accurate. Interestingly enough, the students were given the same outline. This experiment was repeated, but the results stayed the same. This high accuracy rating from the students ‘general’ personality description is called the Barnum effect. Palm readers, crystal ball gazers and horoscopes can use it to convince people that their description of them is unique and could never apply to anyone else. Naturally, we prefer to believe in positive statements about ourselves. It is the main reason why people can make significant incomes from astrology alone.
Now, it is possible to implement this into general marketing for most companies. People want to be spoken to in a personal way. They don’t want generic emails created by computers and sent to thousands of people around the world. They want to feel understood and appreciated – even when they are not giving over their business to that company (just yet).
Therefore, big companies like Coca Cola, who did an incredibly popular campaign called ‘Share a coke’, basically convinced people to sell their product for them by ‘giving’ it to another. A simple, yet brilliant idea of identifying the most popular names in certain countries and putting them on Coca-Cola bottles, helped the company sell more than 250 million units in Australia in 2011 (a country with a population of just 23 million people!).
It just proved that we pay more attention to things when we think about ourselves and, as humans, we like to be defined through things – especially through things we love. It gives our self-definition a sense of legitimacy. That’s where horoscopes come in handy! Instead of saying ‘I am indecisive’, ‘I am such a Gemini’ works just as well. For that reason, we like brands with strong images, the ones we can associate with certain attributes – traits that are familiar to us.
Utilising astrology doesn’t mean you have to learn how to predict the future. It’s simply about identifying with your audience and playing into their interests – they will value that. Overall, entertainment is a big part of marketing. It’s all about how to sell your brand – I am sure you’ve noticed big corporations using memes – considering your audience and the type of content they like to see is the best way to engage with your target audience.
Astrology helps people to feel special and understood. If a brand can make its customers feel the same, it’s already a big success. It’s why so many businesses are now leveraging astrology in their content (even if it’s just a one-off piece). We live in times where people are looking for some comfort, and are in a need of some light-hearted content. Marketers are now able to implement this into their strategies to be able to ensure their customers feel comfortable purchasing and investing in them.
Whether you believe in astrology or not, humans are prone to taking information that we can relate and connect to our daily life. We cannot fully escape The Barnum Effect, so let’s have fun with it!
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