Simon Sinek on What Tools Brands Use to Influence Consumer Behavior

In Chapter 5 of 16 of his 2009 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, "Start With Why" author urges students, professionals, and consumers to recognize negative media and messaging is often only used to sell products and does not reflect true state of mind.  Brands use marketing tactics to influence consumer behavior, loyalty, and decision making.  Sinek acknowledges how many college graduates and job seekers face a mass-media induced negative mindset full of negativity, fear, manipulation, and aspirational messages.  Simon Sinek is a trained ethnographer who applies his curiosity around why people do what they do to teach leaders and companies how to inspire people.  He is the author of "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action."  Sinek holds a BA degree in cultural anthropology from Brandeis University.


Erik Michielsen: For college graduates coming out of school looking for what's next, whether that means a job, graduate school, public service, many encounter a negative mindset.  What's your insight into directing them toward a more positive path?

Simon Sinek: It is true.  We are unfortunately in a mass media world.  Because businesses have not quite figured out how to differentiate themselves and really to run the most efficient businesses they are trying everything.  Negativity, fear, manipulation, and aspirational messages.  All of these messages work and we are bombarded with them.  I think just being aware helps you overcome it.  To understand the reason the news tells you, "you can die from tap water, tune in at 11."  When CNN reports some horrible thing happening on some conspiracy going on.  They are doing that because they need you to tune in so they can drive their ratings and sell more advertising.  Understand why all that negativity exists.  It is not because they want you to be scared it is because they need you to tune in.  They need you to buy.  They need you to vote.  It works but also makes us a little more crazy.