Yesterday, I blogged about the basis of our fears. Today I’m thinking of other issues related to fear. Think of the personal consequences, and think of who benefits from one’s personal fears. You and I may not even consciously view these as fears or as the demons you must battle against.
When danger looms ahead, we are alarmed, filled with fear, dread the consequences e.g. in an exam for which you did not do quite as well as you should have, you dread the results – that sense of anticipated failure. Now if the exam is critical, the fear gets compounded. Think of it, if you fared poorly, and your job promotion had depended upon it, you will be anxious. But if you were without a job for months, and if this exam was your singular ray of hope, the consequences of failure may be even more severe. Anxiety, worry, tension aside, you may actually stand in cold sweat, fearing the worst consequences, while you await the results.
Fear also causes:
angst, anxiety, concern
despair, dismay, doubt, dread
horror, jitters, panic
scare, suspicion, terror, unease
worry, abhorrence, agitation
aversion, awe, consternation
cowardice, creeps, discomposure
faint-heartedness, foreboding, fright
funk, misgiving, nightmare
qualm, reverence, revulsion
timidity, trembling, tremor, trepidation
bête noire, chicken-heartedness
cold feet, cold sweat
recreancy or defection
Why so many words? Well, there are subtle differences. Some of these are more pronounced than others, depending on the cause and/or consequence.
Have you ever considered that much to their own advantage, companies across the board feed off customers’ fears. In direct contrast to the variants of fear, they offer “value additions” along with their products. We, as their customers, buy into their reassuring ad campaigns, which more often than not offer a combination of these:
calmness, cheer, confidence, contentment
faith, happiness, joy
Through their social media marketing, or advertising messages, when brand or corporate ad campaigns do not reinforce these positive emotions in their audiences, the campaigns are deemed to have failed. Little or zero impact on customers’ psyche leads to fewer conversions, and thereby a failed media campaign. All the hi-flying numbers, communication strategy etc means nada, if social media marketers or corporate leaders do not get this basic idea right.
In closing, think of all the insurance companies, beauty products, health-related brands/services, funeral services, real estate, transportation, education, political campaigns, or then even social media… Beneath all the sweet words of wisdom is an underlying message – If you don’t buy into our brand, the chances are you will lose out. They subliminally evoke latent fear.
Lose out from being part of a larger social circle, or a club, or a group, or from your family… the “affiliation to something desirable” or sought after. That causes fear, which could then lead to personal failure; “If I don’t buy into this pricey club membership, my circle of friends will think I’m uncool and folks may begin to alienate me.” This notion of failure is daunting for all of us… hence this business strategy propagates, companies funnel their offerings through the media you and I are likely to use; and we feed through it consuming their whole nine yards.