Desires vs. Needs: The Modern Shareholder’s Perspective

Desires vs. Needs - The Modern Shareholder’s PerspectiveWe live in a culture where we’ve been conditioned to want “stuff and things” we don’t really need. The marketing language of persuasion is very powerful in the media and throughout society. Edward Bernays is considered to be the father of public relations. His work on the engineering of consent and crystallizing public opinion is widely recognized. He was instrumental in helping to create a culture of desires rather than needs. And we’ve been trained to think we need luxury items beyond the call of human comprehension in order to feel like worthy, happy, superior people. Interestingly, Bernay’s first major work is entitled Propaganda. It was published in 1928! He followed up with The Engineering of Consent in 1947 and 1955. Bernays was expert at molding opinion, persuasion, and enlisting cooperation and consent.

Am I a better, superior and more valuable and popular person if I wear “7s” vs. Wranglers?  If I drive a Range Rover am I more valuable, more worthy, and more important then my neighbor who drives a Subaru? All of us are vulnerable to these types of messages. The selling of innumerable products fuels and permeates our culture on a 24/7 basis. A savvy shareholder activist needs to be aware of this type of data, and the emotional constructs which underscore how people think and behave. Emotional drivers are exceptionally powerful. Psychology is the infrastructure of life. Corporations run on psychology and so do shareholders.

Corporations are all too aware of these constructs and human realities/frailties. Strategic planning teams study the human need and desire trends constantly. Trends expand into bubbles which can be capitalized on by savvy shareholders and investors.

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