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Building Intrigue in Brands: Overview


So, we’ve all been there: It’s a night out on the town and you’re excited to be out with friends.  You’re even on “the list” at the hot, new club and as you wait in a line in the cold, inching your way to the front of the line, the doorman say’s “you’re not getting in.”  Even after you explain that you’re on the list, he still refuses to let you in and even starts to pretend that he can’t see you, where you then walk about away feeling a bit defeated (and eventually end up at a bar i nearby the club).

The goal of me sharing this story is not about me admitting to have been rejected from a club before (thankfully it’s not too often anymore!), but the real question is: Why do we desire to enter clubs like that? Why are they so exclusive?  It’s because it comes down to our humanly desire to be intrigued — what is inside/what are we missing out on? Dating is very similar as well.  If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times… “They’re perfect, but there’s no excitement or intrigue.” This holds true for brands.  It’s important for brands to build intrigue.

If you’re watching a show or a movie and you can guess how it’s going to end right away, it’s boring. We love being surprised by how the story ends. Why? Because it builds intrigue.  So how does this apply to brands? If your brand’s campaign is too obvious,  you won’t connect and resonate with your audience.

For instance, let’s look at Apple Computers first TV ad was in 1984. This compelling video “used an unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh as a means of saving humanity from “conformity,” Big Brother. These images were an allusion to George Orwell‘s noted novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by a televised “Big Brother.” What made this commercial great: they didn’t show the soon-to-launch product.  More so, focused on building the brand identity and intrigue.

Even currently, several jewelry and wedding boutiques are by invite only and appointment needed and seem to be booked up all the time. And why is this? Because perception is reality.  Humans have been trained to have a penchant for things that appear to be scarce.  Take De Beers, for instance. “It’s ironic that during the lifetime of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, De Beers never discovered a diamond mine itself. De Beers essentially made its profits from scarcity, not from an abundance of diamonds. De Beers artificially restricted the flow of diamonds…even increasing demand by aggressive advertising campaigns for the illusion of diamonds.”


So next time you’re caught outside of a club, make sure to flash your scarce diamonds to show your status and gain entrance in the club.  And if that doesn’t work, you can always go home and play on your Apple computer.  And if you’re a brand, building intrigue is crucial for generating Conversation around your brand (slight pun intended)


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