Ever done something because you’ve been told not to?

Or have you resisted doing something just because you’ve been told to?

This is known as reactance.
When our free will is challenged, our brains are hard-wired to resist.
Bad news for marketers, right?

Because counterintuition can be a powerful marketing tool. Here’s how:

Try alienating your audience

The silky smooth self-indulgence of the chocolate category did little to reach men.
Nestlé Yorkie’s ‘It’s Not For Girls’ was developed by design to corner the ‘macho’ market.
Sales soared. But specifically, more women bought Yorkies (60:40 ratio across some SKUs; Kantar 2010).

Make their lives difficult

The cake mix category struggled through 1940s America, until one change fundamentally redefined baking.
“Make them add fresh eggs,” determined Ernest Dichter (the ‘father of focus groups’). “The cakes will taste better, and bakers will take greater ownership of their efforts.”
Frustrating the process led to a sales boom for the likes of General Mills’ Betty Crocker. (see also: the IKEA flat pack effect!)

Tell them not to buy your brand

Hot on the heels of its most successful ever single bar launch, Mondelez toned down the desire to try their new Cadbury Caramel Twirl and yet they gained nearly 4k new followers in the month that they launched.

For more on the power of counterintuition, don’t follow Justin Oberman! ?

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