Apple Employs 3 Deep-Seated Psychological Triggers to Incite Spending. Anyone Can Use Them
May 24, 2023
If you ask someone why they bought the latest iPhone, they might tell you that the camera is better, it has more storage, yada yada... You get it.
Perhaps because that someone is you.
What you won't get is an answer like, "its marketing was just too compelling."
Yet chances are, most didn't spend a small fortune to ditch what was formerly the latest model just months ago because they were just dying for their mobile phone to replace their professional camera. Or because that slight size difference would make all the difference. Or because of that new feature they never knew they needed-nor ever thought they wanted is now available.
While we believe that technology and design are what attracts us to it, what we might not realize is the role marketing plays in building your desire for it-if not, the enchantment of it. And that's exactly how it's supposed to work-even though you're not supposed to know that.
Right under your nose and hidden in plain sight are three psychological triggers that Apple wants you to see, but doesn't want you to notice. The cleverly simple strategy taps into the subconscious, effectively transforming a want into a need and skyrocketing sales. It sounds like a tall order, but it's surprisingly simple, free, and easy to deploy.
Apple skillfully employs the subtle art of copywriting and human psychology to influence the human mind to open our wallets. While there is a myriad of ways in which it does this, there are three overarching psychological triggers that it bakes into its copywriting to inspire consumers to pull the proverbial trigger on unnecessary purchases-which is what helps it drive a ridiculously high revenue.
#1. You make it all about them.
You probably got it, but to clarify, by "them" I mean your audience.
You also might notice what I did there. But what you might not realize is how powerful starting a sentence with "you" can be.
Psychologically speaking, it puts the recipient of your message centerstage--something humans have a tendency to revel in. Because it instantly tells the recipient that it's a message for them, or that it's about them, they become more interested in hearing what you have to say.
For example, let's say you're at dinner with a friend. Dessert arrives and after one bite your friend gleefully says, "this is the best cheesecake I've ever had."
The statement might momentarily make you glance at the plate before them. But it might also make you question your friend's taste if you happen to know of a better cheesecake or simply aren't a fan of the dessert in general.
However, if your friend takes a bite and proceeds to gush, "oh, you would love this," your interest might be piqued and you just might second-guess your decision to opt for the torte-even if you're not generally a fan of cheesecake.
While the first statement is inherently stronger, it's not as effective in inciting interest. That is because the person on the receiving end is not central to the statement.
What we see within Apple's advertising is the consistent-if not, very frequent use of the words "you" and "your", particularly at the head of many sentences.
For example, when looking at the iPhone 14, the copy (in reference to the updated lock screen) uses "your" four times.
"Your photo. Your font. Your widgets. Your iPhone."
You'll also learn that "iPhone lets you call the shots." With its latest camera you can create "selfies you'll flip over," and "now you can record in 4K-the same frame rate you see in the movies."
You get the point.
#2. Casual language creates familiarity
What many might not notice when reading Apple's marketing copy is that it reads the way a friend would speak. And rather than using more sterile language that is free of fancy words, cultural terms or contractions, it doesn't read like your average advertisement.
Psychologically, this gives the copy a subconscious feeling of trustworthiness and a higher degree of persuasiveness. Just as a friend would tell the truth, marketing materials that sound like a friend inherently signal a sense of credibility and authenticity to the mind.
In an effort to sound knowledgeable and authoritative, there's a tendency for businesses to end up sounding rigid. While certain industries and audiences demand such language, not every business needs to work so hard to portray expertise. In some instances, doing so may actually diminish a business's ability to resonate with its audience, rendering its marketing efforts less effective.
#3. Build trust using evidence, not ideas.
Marketing and advertising have a tendency to tell us all of the great things a product or service can do or achieve. Yet, it rarely shows us.
What we see with Apple is that while copywriting largely consists of words, it is not limited to words. Apple strategically uses high-quality examples throughout its marketing (e.g. before and after photos) to back its bold marketing messages with evidence.
By backing bold marketing claims with strong visual evidence, we gain trust that the message is not a farce, but a fact.
This helps to not only build desire, but more importantly, trust. But not only trust in regard to the specific examples and their marketing claims. In the process, it also builds trust in its other marketing messages, such as how you need it and how much you'll love it. Suddenly these claims feel more authentic and thus become more powerful.
Apple's strategy is simple: make marketing copy relatable to those reading it. By being personable, easy to understand, and evidence-based, it makes the buying decision easier and consumers more likely to buy confidently, quickly, and in the case of Apple, continuously.