Wayne Curtis’ article, “The Secret Ingredient,” which appeared in the April 2012 edition of The Atlantic discusses liquor companies’ claims about centuries-old, secret recipes. His point is that marketing drives the myths and stories behind these recipes more than the actual ingredients of the spirits do. For example, citing chemist T.A. Breaux, Curtis says there are no significant production secrets behind vodka, the best-selling spirit globally. Yet, he concludes:
. . . a healthy measure of mythology actually makes for a better-tasting product. Never mind the mouth or nose as the chief receptors of flavor. Sometimes, imagination and suggestion trump all.
There are many ways for us to change the taste of food without changing anything about the food; however, stories impact us well beyond taste. Look at how emphatic politicians are about their personal stories especially focus on rising from humble beginnings or overcoming severe challenges, thus working to wrap their story inside the classical hero myth.
Stories influence the intuitive aspect of interpersonal interactions, tapping directly into people’s feelings by way of presentation. The way we present something, including people, dramatically influences people’s perceptions of it. Since stories can change the way we view people, they can change how we interpret what those people say.
Therefore, when it comes to Placebo Management, stories become a form of interpersonal branding. If they can affect something as tangible as the taste of spirits, consider what they can do for intangibles such as our personalities. Consider the story built around IKEA and its founder, Ingvar Kamprad; it’s a motivational force for employees and consumers alike.
So, with this in mind, what stories do you promote about yourself, your company and others to change people’s taste about their talents and efforts?
Other posts in this series:
- Nurturing Positive Feelings Dramatically Improves Employee Performance
- Placebo Management: Impacting Employees’ Beliefs
- Placebo Management (Pt 3): Stories Change Taste
- Placebo Management (Pt 2): Tapping Emotions
- Placebo Management (Pt 4): Tiger, Golfers, Superstitions & Performance
- Placebo Management (Pt 5): Emotions, Health, Performance
- Planning and Developing Employees’ Confidence
- Better Bedside Manner, Lower Malpractice Risk
- Difference between Doing Good and Being Good at Work