If a Martian came to the Earth… (it wouldn’t like to be a woman)

The created needs
Someone told me once that if a Martian came to the Earth and watched TV advertisements, it would never like to be a woman. When he noticed my interrogation look, he replied: Tell me, who appears on adverts with stomach swelling compared with a ‘globe-fish’? Or… who has uncontrolled urination at increasingly earlier ages? Who has terrible haemorrhoids episodes? And… what about the painful constipation episodes? Who grows older sooner every day? And, according to the adverts, who is constantly on the alert for the appearance of a wrinkle, for hair growth or the presence of acne?; tell me…who wants to be like that?
This real fact helps me introduce the concept of the ‘creation of needs’ as a way of activating and driving consumption markets. We must distinguish the identification of new needs from the ‘(artificial) creation of new needs’: We have really a few new needs; but a lot of new ways of solving the usual needs.
The introduction of new concepts of products and services is the main economic driving force and activator of any business model; but the new concepts for needs (new or existing ones) are less in number than the demand for market novelties; this is why it is very easy to fall into the trap of the ‘creation of new needs’ using artificial means to impose the need socially.
In my opinion, this practice borders in some cases the good professional praxis; although ‘creating the social need’ for buying certain products or services to feel members of a specific target or group does not have the same level of transcendence as the practice focused on body or mental health areas, where it becomes particularly dangerous. The creation of needs makes use of two big tools: Lowering the threshold of tolerance and social alarmism.
There is no better practice to focus the attention on a topic than social alarmism; we have been able to witness it in the ‘last pandemic of the human race’: The avian influenza. Not all the social alarms attain this level of transcendence and global character, but that does not mean, even more focused, that they are no longer very powerful: And what about the incontinence crisis affecting our society? In order to cause social alarmism, the best way is to lower the ‘threshold of tolerance’. The threshold of tolerance is the piece of information or position from which something stops being normal and turns into a problem, when a certain health condition turns into a disease…when we are no longer ‘normal people’ and become stigmatized people.
By moving the positions in the threshold of tolerance, we will be older beforehand or we would like to be young people at the wrong moment. We can see it in our children; they grow increasingly rapidly, they have almost no room to play ‘classically’, the demands we as a society create for them make them mature too fast, artificially. This has nothing to do with the introduction of technology at a very early age (new means to meet the usual needs).
From a corporate strategy and business model viewpoint, creating needs (the ethical stance aside) is expensive and ephemeral: Expensive because the need must be artificially sustained, we have to over reason it out; ephemeral because sooner than later consumers detect the non-need or the passing fashion and they suddenly interrupt consumption.
After reflecting on this topic, I think today Martians wouldn’t like to be men either: we suffer from hair loss, abdominal weigh loss pills have appeared and they have lifted the ban on premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction…

Antoni Flores- CEO Loop-CN

 

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Mª Luisa Vives – Jaime Gross

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