Believing the best

Lance Armstrong changed course and admitted to doping. After years of vigilant defense of his innocence, he drastically and dramatically changed course. After years, it looks like he was more of a LieStrong than a LiveStrong guy.

Like O.J. Simpson, most people know on some level that with such firsthand evidence, he was probably guilty. However, within all of us there is a natural instinct to believe other people. It’s the underlying principle of ratings, reviews, word of mouth marketing and anything that leverages the people factor.

It’s also a natural instinct to believe the first thing you hear. The O.J. Simpson trial started the same way as the Lance Armstrong saga – a firm and definitive statement of innocence followed by an unwavering commitment to that statement or claim. Once the statement is made, despite a video of the person committing the crime, most people want to believe they didn’t do it.

For products and services, a similar phenomenon exists. The first to the market, or the first to make the claim, generally grabs a share of the market that is challenging for an opposing view to overtake. The key, however, is to make sure the statement is bold and is the first. And, for longevity, it should be true! It’s hard to recover from bold lies and a purposeful deceit. Still, the lesson holds true: People believe people, and we all go against our instincts to believe the best in people. The best marketing is, therefore, arguably, people.

David Cain

David Cain works at Magnitude, a local marketing agency. Contact David at david.cain@marketmagnitude.com.

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