What drives success ? Can we find a common ground for the most successful companies that thrive around us ?

Scott Galloway, teacher of Marketing at NYU, guides us through a journey into the body, through our instincts, to examine this question. He focuses on four companies : Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google (the so called GAFA). Once again, we shall drop the idea of the cold, rational analytical robot-man and dive into our deeper, repressed animal self, struggling with conflicting desires and emotions :

  • Head : First, we dive into the brain, where the quest for knowledge lies. We may all safely agree on our desire to learn, to explore, to grow, to understand. (Why are you reading those words, after all ?). Google answers all your questions. Google knows it all : it has become your most trusted advisor, your mother, your brother, your God. Google addresses your thirst for knowledge.
  • Heart : Through this platform you reach out to your hundred of « friends », you are liked, loved and more importantly, you love back. Love has many benefits, as studies have shown : an essential factor for explaining old age is the number of people you have loved. Facebook addresses your need to love and to be loved.
  • Gut : « Amazon is our consumption gut – The instinct of more is hardwired into us. The penalty for too little is starvation and malnutrition. Open your cupboards, open your closets, you have ten to hundred times what you need. » says Scott Gallaway. In other words, Amazon addresses the core of your survival instinct. Your need to accumulate and consume in order to fight your fear of death. And last but not least.
  • Pelvis : Apple illustrates your desire to mate, to reproduce, to produce offspring, and therefore to seduce and to please. Alternatively, one may simply take a glimpse at some of the richest men in Europe : head of LVMH, Inditex or H&M, to realize the success of this approach.

So what is the common thread between all those extremely powerful and successful corporations ? They have all tried to quench humanity’s deepest instincts. In one sentence, as Scott Galloway enunciates :

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« Tapping into humanity’s irrational instincts is the key to business ».

These corporations would never have achieved such success if they did not target us at the center of our hearts (or brains, guts…). They have reached deep through us, to our core : our animal instinct. Instinct, that each and every one of us shares, and that is hardly controllable. Some may even say it is our instinct that controls us. Of course, the success of those corporations can not only be explained by this – after all, many ingredients are required to create a new, exotic cocktail.

Associating the product you are offering, with the need you are fulfilling and its underlying instinct is cardinal, be it only to properly understand the impact that your creation could potentially have.

As a producer it is necessary to embrace the responsibility that comes with mining into the human depths. One cannot deny the benefits that GAFA have brought us, however they also have deeply transformed us and our society :

« These 4 companies, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google have disarticulated who we are : God, Love, Consumption, Sex the proportion and your approach to those things is who you are » declares Scott.

Corporations not only address our instincts but have the power to trigger them. As a consumer, it is crucial to be aware of that.

 

Yasmine Starein

 

Scott Galloway’s TED Talk can be found here :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRL2vVAa47I ; he is also the author of the following book : « The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google ».