Fear of Loss
We are living amongst a lot of uncertainties right now, which involve risks and fear. Businesses are losing revenues, people are losing time, opportunities and jobs. As we know, people hate experiencing losses. In behavioural science, it is called ‘loss aversion’ and “zero-risk bias”.
Basically, it means that we like to make decisions to avoid losing. For example, when businesses make the decision to close because it incurs less financial loss than if remaining open; when people choose to work longer hours remotely because of the Fear of Losing their job; even when people protest against wearing masks because of their Fear of Losing their rights … etc. Lots and lots of decisions are influenced by the Fear of Loss.
Not just for businesses, in personal life too, the Fear of Loss can be overwhelming. Anyone who has experienced traumatic losses can vouch for its power in influencing our decision making and sometimes blinds us from seeing other things. Even when you are watching a magician performing, you are afraid of missing something, so they tell you to look closely. However, the closer you think you are, the less you'll actually see.
In Human-centric marketing, marketers shouldn’t just focus on businesses and customers, we should also focus on ourselves too! In order to have an optimal performance, we need to start with a clear, unbiased and balanced mindset. As Rory Sutherland said in his latest paper, ‘The Objectivity Trap’: “Marketing is NOT Marcomms, it's a mindset.”
If you think marketing should be judged on what they write, not how they think, then you don’t really appreciate marketing.
I can’t begin to imagine the long-term effect this pandemic is causing on our mindset, especially for marketers. As the Fear of Loss continues to grow, instead of looking so closely of what we think we are losing, let us try not let it control our mindset.
Fear of Loss may have been intensified by the pandemic but it certainly has been affecting our professional lives since long before the virus. I think we have all agreed with someone in work because of the Fear of Blame or the Fear of Losing respect. Sometimes we don’t even realise our workplace has what behavioural scientist call the ‘Collective Bias’, because we have been mistaking it for ‘Company Culture’. For example, many companies require unanimous decisions on new hires, but seriously, why? This ‘Collective Bias’ nurturing policy will only destroy motivation and creativity.
The danger of the Fear of Loss is when it dominates our thinking without us realising it and actively managing it. To protect our mindset, especially for marketers who need creativity and courage to take some risks. Playing safe, focusing on loss over gain, or agreeing with others may get you to the same place as others but it will not get you to where you have dreamed of.
So, Marketers, What I am suggesting is:
Please protect your creative mindset by managing the Fear of Loss. In order to successfully navigate through the risks and uncertainties, your company needs your clear, creative, unbiased, even sometimes fearless mindset to deliver the magic.
• Fear of Loss can narrow our vision and lead to irrational decisions, sometimes bad decisions.
• If we can’t stop the Fear of Loss when we make a decision, at least we can evaluate other possible losses such as creativity, synergy, respect, hope, self-esteem and trust.
• Be aware of ‘collective bias’ in the workplace. If you agree to gain respect from others (which you won’t get), you might lose valuable things of your own. It certainly will not benefit the company either.
A free 2-hour consultation for the first 10 marketers (on a first come, first served basis). PM me to find out more. No strings attached just an interesting chat.
Note: As a consultant, my job is not to present you with the answers. It is taking you on a discovery journey, using both your and my unique knowledge and skills to come up with unique, positive and meaningful perspectives.
About the Author
I am a culturally diverse, self-aware and logically creative marketer. Even my name is multi-cultural: Jing (Chinese) Reilly (Irish).
Deep down, I am just an evolving human on a mission to make a positive impact, one person at a time.
Grievance of Loss. The sadness you feel (pandemic or no pandemic), is your grievance for something you have lost. I will explain.