No Freudian Slip Here

Posted November 8th, 2012 by bbsadmin & filed under General Business, Motivation.


Sigmund Freud had some very revolutionary ideas in his day and some of them can be directly applied to business:

1. The id and marketing

Sigmund Freud developed a psychology theory involving the id, the ego and the superego. The id represents the immediate gratification people seek. It is the impulse or the reactionary tendency. This explains why impulse items work at the checkout stands of grocery stores. It is the immediate gratification that people seek which leads them to purchase that candy bar. It is also an explanation of why many of the food ads work by showing melted chocolate being drizzled over a strawberry leaving a mental impression leading one to satisfy a craving. Business leaders can use the need for immediacy in their marketing by utilizing this principle Freud developed.

2. Superego and marketing

The superego is what governs the moral character of the person. It is like the conscience which keeps the id in control. This would be the what keeps someone from buying the impulse items at the checkout. It would be saying, “if you save that dollar you will have another dollar to put toward your retirement investment account. If you buy that chocolate you will be 4 ounces chubbier and all for 20 minutes of bliss.” As a business owner you must keep this in mind. What can you do in your marketing to appease the id? Let’s go back to the chocolate bar. When that chocolate bar says that it is cheaper than the average price and it says that it has antioxidants your thought process might be more like, “ 40 cents extra toward my retirement is better than nothing extra I would have had toward the account if I spent a dollar. Besides this chocolate has antioxidants which are supposed to be good for you right?” and before you know it the cash register clerk asks if you want the chocolate bar in the bag or not. Consider the superego in your marketing. How can you give positive influence to justify the product or service?

3. The Ego

The Ego is what actually balances the id and the superego. This is where the true power of marketing comes out. If you are able to balance nature with reason and put both in your favor, you will have a powerful marketing plan. A great example of these two forces in full strength is Black Friday. Businesses reduce prices and emphasize the trendy toys they have. Some even have a line that weaves through the store so that once a person passes a toy while walking through the store, they are unable to come back and get it. The winners of the Black Friday competition are those who have the right balance. You don’t necessarily need to reduce your prices or wait till Black Friday to use these principles, but you should learn how to have the balance of these two forces in your business.

4. Recognition as a motivator

Freud said that people have a “desire to be great” (Carnegie). You can motivate your employees by recognizing them for things they accomplish. Do you know of anyone who has done an exceptional job in their work? Recognition can be a great motivator.

5. Active Listening

As the one who developed psychoanalysis it is clear that he knew how to listen to people. One of the important aspects was not simply the listening, but also asking good questions. Listening is a great way to gain understanding and build trust with your employees. You don’t need a comfy couch to be an active listener, but you do need to show that you are engaged in the conversation and care about what your employee has to say.

Notable Quotes

“Where id was, there ego shall be”

“Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone”

“Men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea they become powerless when they oppose it.”

Works Cited

Brainy Quotes. Sigmund Frued. 3 November 2012.