How do brands manipulate us?

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The secret to stop being a sucker and buying useless things. 😄

Manipulation is the term that best describes influencing our unconscious mind to sell.

How to influence?

Some genius marketers have perfectly understood how we work.

We are often willing to spend if a good deal is presented to us.

We buy things we don’t really need. Why?

If brands spend millions on marketing, it’s because they double or triple their investment. They know how to pull the unbconscious strings that encourage the purchase of their products.

We are easily influenced. Just look at how our emotions influence our thoughts.

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Whoever can take control of our emotions can manipulate us.

This is why the main lever that brands play on is fear:

  • Insurers play on the fear of losing.
  • The pharmaceutical industry plays on the fear of dying.
  • Alarm vendors play on insecurity.
  • Car manufacturers play on the fear of being compared.
  • Humanitarian organisations play on the fear of being selfish.
  • Laundry sellers play on the fear of disappointing our parents.

The message is delivered at a subtle, often undetectable level.

Limiting beliefs

Emotions feed the limiting beliefs that govern us.

A good salesperson is someone who intuitively understands the unconscious patterns of others.

Researchers estimate that over 95% of our behavior is governed by our beliefs.

For example, sales activate the following beliefs:

  • If I buy, I will save money (fear of losing money).
  • If I don’t hurry, others will get the product before me (fear of not being better).
  • If I get a good deal, I will be proud of myself (fear of not making it).
  • If I don’t buy, I won’t get another chance (fear of losing the opportunity).

I remember participating in a private sale, with discounts of up to 70% off. I was so excited that I bought a coat and a jacket. I wore them once or twice at most, because I didn’t need them. For months I wondered why I had bought them.

Children are particularly easy targets for unconscious beliefs, especially before the age of 8.

The example of McDonald’s

McDonald’s is probably the brand that has best understood how people work.

The campaign “Come as you are” was a success: if at home my parents offer me conditional love (“If you don’t do your homework, I’ll be angry.”), at McDonald’s I receive unconditional love.

Publicité Big Mac
The perfect mum has prepared a Big Mac for you, placed at heart level.
In other words, McDonald’s is offering you motherly love.

The brand excels with children:

  • The restaurant represents their dream home: a playground, a kitchen where they choose their favorite food, a family and joyful atmosphere at the table.
  • Gifts are offered: symbols of parental love, generosity, fun, happiness.
  • The food is high in fat, sugar, salt and additives reminiscent of breast milk.

Thus, the belief “If I go to McDonald’s, I will be loved” is firmly anchored from a very young age.

That’s why I always wanted to eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a month. And even if I came out disgusted, wondering what I could find in that food, I would still go back. It wasn’t until I removed my unconscious belief that I was able to put an end to the hamburger and fries craving.

Manipulation techniques

They are well known to brands.

Follow the others

As a survival instinct, we tend to unconsciously follow what others do.

This is why if a sheep jumps in, the rest of the flock will follow.

Of course, it is not as extreme for human beings.

However, if there is a queue in front of the Louis Vuitton shop, it is probably because there are some excellent deals inside.

Behind, there is the fear of being different.

Terre Hermès
Water in the desert represents life winning against death.
If I want to be young, handsome, sporty, elegant, strong and determined like this man, then this perfume is for me.

Need for consistency

If we commit ourselves to something small, we are ready to commit ourselves to something more.

We act consistently with our past actions. Again, this is a survival instinct: it keeps us from spreading ourselves too thin.

If we sign a petition, we are more willing to contribute to the same cause.

Behind, there is the fear of rejection.

The offer that you can’t refuse

If we reject a request, we are more likely to accept a more reasonable offer.

This is why the most expensive products are put forward.

A car salesman who presents a $35,000 model knows that he will be turned down. By presenting vehicles at $25,000 or $20,000, the buyer will be more easily seduced, despite his/her initial budget of $15,000.

Behind, there is the fear of displeasing.


The feeling of deference to authority is deeply rooted in us.

This is why characters in advertisements often wear white coats to extol the benefits of their wares.

Behind, there is the fear that we will not be loved if we do not obey.

Pub Camel

The rule of reciprocity

If someone offers us something, we unconsciously give in to a feeling of obligation and tend to buy.

This is why brands offer us :

  • Free samples = gifts.
  • Coupons = rewards.
  • Sweets = parental sweetness.

Behind, there is the fear of not loving.

How not to be fooled anymore?

We are easy targets for professional persuaders.

By removing our fears and beliefs, companies no longer have power over our unconscious mind.

The best way to stop being tricked is to free yourself emotionally.

Find out how emotional release works.


How do brands manipulate us?

They know that human beings can be influenced by playing on their emotions.

A government that defends the interests of the people would ban advertising and discounts.

However, manipulative techniques only have a hold on our fears and limiting beliefs.

Fortunately, it is possible to free ourselves from them.

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