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Marketing When People Are On Edge

Released Tuesday, 15th September 2020
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On this episode, Dr. Marni Bender, a clinical psychologist, talks about how fear and anxiety are driving the general public's behavior and what marketers can do to affect positive behavior change. Creative Outhouse specializes in behavior change and this episode shows how similar psychology and marketing can be. 

Well, anxiety has gone through the roof as you can imagine. For people who already had anxiety, it has been exacerbated tremendously— especially anxiety around health issues. With COVID, many people are very afraid of getting infected or losing family members, things like that. But also, I’m seeing people who haven't typically struggled with anxiety in the past. IN addition to health anxiety, we’re seeing issues about financial security. But there's also been a sort of a vague uneasiness overall about what is happening in the world; like it feels as if the world is falling apart for a lot of people and they don't have a lot of security or safety about what's coming in the future.

 Behavior Change Marketing Starts With Why
Rudy Fernandez
So how does that manifest itself?
Dr. Marni Bender
In terms of basic symptoms, it's a lot of physical symptoms like upset stomach, headaches, general muscle tightness, that makes it hard to just relax. And that comes out a lot of times in anger, fighting, just an irritability with others. It also tends to make people want to control things or avoid things. When people get anxious, they get very avoidant of things that make them anxious because it makes your anxiety go away. Or they get very controlling.  Again, that's a way to give them to reduce their anxiety. If they have a sense of control, it's often an illusion of control.
Rudy Fernandez
So it's a binary either nothing or try to control what are some of the things they try to control that are sort of irrational?
Dr. Marni Bender
I would say it's actually not binary. It's a matter of degree. But I see what you're saying like people seem to have the opposite response either controller or avoid, but how much they do it is certainly a matter of degree. We all probably do that a little bit. But the more extreme we get, the more problems we tend to have functioning in life. A simple example would be people that are extremely ordered. if something gets out of place,
Rudy Fernandez
Like organizing a spice rack or whatever…
Dr. Marni Bender
Yes, exactly
Rudy Fernandez
And what kind of things are they avoiding?
Dr. Marni Bender
It can be seeing people. It can be taking care of their health, dealing with their personal finances, people tend to start getting into financial trouble... They don't want to pay attention to it. So they either ignore it and just start incurring lots of debt. Or they will almost go to the other extreme of like, I don't have a problem and spend willy nilly shopping and things like that.
We're Missing Clear Messaging
Rudy Fernandez
You brought up something that I've noticed. We are all still trying to feel around for what is the best way or what is a comfortable way to engage with friends, for example. We had some other friends over and we sat outside. When we went inside to get food, they came inside with us.  It was awkward because we’re thinking, “there’s a reason we're in the heat.” So it's really trying to figure that out your social interactions, and you're right sometimes It's like, let's just avoid social interactions. And it's a weird balance right now.
Full transcript here: https://creativeouthouse.com/anxiety-and-consumer-…  
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