Someone once told me that Machiavelli said the art of seduction is telling good looking people they are intelligent, and intelligent people they are good looking. I have no idea if Machiavelli expounded on this subject, but the advice is truly Machiavellian.
I was reminded of it yesterday while strolling in the Knightsbridge neighbourhood of London. For those unfamiliar with the city, it is a haunt of beautiful people, especially around the department stores of Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
Alongside me passes an extremely attractive woman. A guy walking towards us calls out to her: “hello gorgeous”! As would be expected, she ignores him. She looks towards me and I just roll my eyes.
The man, after passing, turns around to see if she has reacted. Yes folks, after millions of years of evolution, and including such inane actions as tooting the car horn, these are some of the best mating strategies men have thought of.
Think about it. Hasn’t she heard since she was a baby, how good looking she is? Probably her tragedy is that people don’t look past that to discover her other qualities. Much more effective to focus on those.
Brands: Target versus Reflection
Brands, of course, are in the business of seducing clients. The beauty industry advertising often focusses on this. The aspirational aspect of cosmetics with its celebrity endorsements is demonstrated by companies like L’Oréal.
Each brand in this aspirational business must specify two sets of consumers. The first is the “target” which comprises of the segment of consumers that the brand expects to buy its products. The second is “reflection” or the segment of consumers that the “target” segment believes consumes the brand, much more upmarket from a demographic (income, class) perspective.
The advertising for the brand features endorsers from the “reflection” segment. As a result, the target segment sees its reflection in these, more aspirational, set of people.
Everyone is trying to be someone they are not?