Creating A Product Craze Follow these three rules to start your own commercial craze.

You have a product or service you love, and you want everybodyelse to love it. Well, you'd do well to read Robert B.Cialdini's book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion(Quill Trade Paperbacks). Cialdini is a professor of psychology atArizona State University in Tempe, and he's done a considerableamount of research on how commercial crazes start. Here are thethree main reasons he's come up with:

  • Expensive equals good. "There's a classic storyabout Chivas Regal, the Scotch, which when it began was really amoderately priced Scotch that didn't differentiate itself fromits competitors," says Cialdini. "They decided to raisethe price substantially above any of their competitors, withoutchanging the product a bit. Sales took off. If people don'tknow much about the product, then they just revert to thestereotype: Expensive equals good. This must be worth themoney."
  • The scarcity effect. If people like your business, lessmay be more. Cabbage Patch, Beanie Babies and Furbys are crazes inpoint, says Cialdini, as was the hype surrounding "The PhantomMenace" release, the newest Star Wars movie. "They madeit a scarce resource because people want more of what they can getless of," says Cialdini.
  • There's safety in numbers. If you can give theimpression your product is popular, it will become more popular,Cialdini contends. He elaborates: "In one study, they had agroup of five people stare at an empty spot in the sky and see whatwould happen. Almost everybody who walked by cast a glance at thatempty spot, and many joined them to stare up at the empty spot.When they had one person stare at that spot, they didn't getnear as many followers. So there's safety in choosing what alot of people have chosen: You're probably going to beright."

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