Picture yourself sitting in your car listening to the radio.
A popular song – one you’ve heard many times before – plays through the speakers. Perhaps it’s the latest pop single that your kids can’t get enough of. Or maybe it’s The Beatles.
In any case, this popular song ends and a totally new song starts playing. This time it’s one you’ve never heard before.
“Sounds interesting. Kind of catchy. Maybe I’ll look it up later?” You think to yourself.
And right after this new song ends, what do you hear? Another popular song. Very similar to the first one you heard.
Is this coincidence?
What you’ve just experienced is what’s sometimes referred to as the “Sandwich Method”.
It’s used by DJs to introduce a new song by playing a popular song directly before and after it.
But this is no random strategy. In fact, the psychological principles behind it are rock-solid – and more crucial now more than ever. Why? It all comes down to how afraid your customers are – and how you can quell that fear to become their biggest ally.
But taking your customers’ sense of fear into account isn’t just something that’s ‘nice to keep in mind’.
In fact, doing it properly can make a night-and-day difference in how well your company’s next moves are received.
Behavior expert Kurt Gray explains why. He states that the #1 trigger for feelings of fear is Novelty – AKA things that are new and unfamiliar.
When we’re faced with novelty our amygdala often overreacts and pumps us full of chemicals that turn on our fight-or-flight response.
Kurt states that for people to be afraid, there needs to be something they’ve perceived as “new” that is now present.
But of course, there’s a BIG problem with that.
People don’t want new things. They want what they’re used to. What’s comfortable.
And if you’re rolling out something new, such as:
A new product or service
A change in your existing product or service in response to COVID
A rebranding or new form of marketing
Then you can bet that the amygdala is going to start firing warning signals – even if there’s no real threat at all.
As a result, your customers’ barriers will go up. They’ll instinctively oppose or resist your change. They may even tune it out entirely.
This all happens because you’ve triggered a neurological ‘rejection response’ in your marketing or messaging.
And ignoring this issue can leave your entire marketing team scratching their heads in confusion.
The good news is that we’ve talked with Kurt Gray to give you three strategies you can use to combat this and increase the effectiveness of your messaging drastically:
Combine What’s Comfortable And Familiar With What’s New
Remember the DJ Sandwich Method? There’s a reason why it’s used when introducing new songs. By playing a popular song immediately before and after…
What happens is that first-time listeners associate the new song with the popular ones.
This association triggers strong feelings of familiarity – even when there’s nothing to be familiar with. Your marketing needs to do the same.
If you’re introducing big, sweeping changes (or marketing things that are too new & novel)…
Then you need to couch these new things in what’s comfortable and familiar.
The goal is to dampen the amygdala response your customers instinctively feel. This will in turn make them more receptive to whatever it is you’re announcing.
For example, if you’re in the restaurant business, your customers have a bucket-load of concerns about going out. And even the smallest perceived threat to their health & safety will tip the scales towards an incredibly appealing UberEats order.
So to apply this principle you’ll want to target the familiar experience of eating out at your restaurant.
You need to convey that your restaurant is still the familiar place they love – that hasn’t changed.
Help them feel comfortable and at home, remind them of what they get that delivery apps just can’t provide, and you’ll get customers to remember why they love your establishment in the first place.
Make Your Customers Feel Safe Before They Try New Things
It goes without saying that safety is a huge concern at the moment. Our normal lives and way of doing things have been brought to a screeching halt – all due to concerns for our health & safety.
And anything that can bring your customers back down to steady footing – and help them feel safe again – will be received better than something that doesn’t.
Kurt Gray explains this is why companies need to think about what they need to keep the same so that people feel comfortable doing the new thing.
Going back to the restaurant example – perhaps you have new seating or ordering policies. Perhaps there’s a change in the menu or how it’s delivered. But by making it clear and explicit that you’re working hard to make their safety a priority, they’ll feel more inclined to take you up on the new service or arrangement.
An important question to ask yourself is:
How are we answering our customer’s biggest objection – their safety – in our messaging? Make sure your marketing team keeps this in mind as they plan out their campaigns and communications.
Help Your Customers Make Better Sense Of What They’re Feeling
The last strategy is to address what they’re feeling and attach a new label onto it.
Kurt Gray explains that companies need to actively help their customers and clients process what’s going on in the most constructive way possible. Here’s an example of how a service-oriented business can reframe their clients’ hesitation towards pulling the trigger into something positive:
“You may be experiencing some hesitation in this time of unease.
But after speaking to our most successful clients, we discovered something interesting: That initial speck of hesitation was really just their anticipation towards trying something new.
Here’s why you’ll want to look forward to the changes we have planned:”
While every business is different, one thing remains the same:
You’ll want to specifically target and call out the predominant emotion they’re feeling – and replace it with something that serves them. By changing your focus to what’s going on in your customer’s world, you’ll be the one company that actually seems like they’re truly listening.
And this will further position you into the category of “trusted friend” in a time where most companies are totally tone-deaf.