If I show you a picture of my Bentley and 10 bedroom Manor House (you know, the ones I don’t have nor want), what’s your first thought? Envy? Surprise? Hope? Despair? Hatred?
It could be any one of those. We’re all different. And that difference spreads to culture as well. In some countries, winners are celebrated. In others, they are despised.
And then there are the divisions within each culture. They may be political (left, right, or centre). It may be religious (for the many or the few). It may be social (lower, middle or upper).
But pull people away from their tribe and things change. These are the secrets most of us keep to ourselves (they’re secrets because we don’t have much choice about our culture or society, and we don’t want people to know how we really feel).
Humans are two faced. It’s just another part of our survival mechanism (part learned – eg. lying, part genetic). It’s why we also have shame and guilt (and why they’re right there at the top of human exploitation along with envy, jealousy, lust and greed).
It’s no wonder copywriting is hard. We create an avatar, write our copy, send it out, and… nothing happens (mostly).
Yet we’re told continuously we can make a fortune from it. We try, fail, stop believing, and give up.
But not all of us. Some realise that someone somewhere DOES make money by writing copy. It’s not just the pictures of the fancy cars and houses. It’s the seminars they headline. It’s the rush to the back of the room to get their latest product. It’s the celebrity status they so obviously have.
We’re easily hooked. And we’re hooked because HOPE is a commodity we cannot do without.
Next time you’re figuring out an avatar, start by thinking in terms of the emotion you want to evoke rather than the person.
You’ll find this a better way to start than looking for an image of a 40 year old guy going through a mid-life crisis, or a 36 year old mum desperate to lose weight (you can do that later).