Junior High DejaVu

In today’s email I received video footage  from a recent conference sponsored by Girls Inc regarding young women’s stress issues.  A panel featuring author Jessica Weiner, designer Dana Buchman, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide chair Shelly Lazarus, Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive and health expert/radio host Dr. Jennifer Wider weighed in with answers to what stressed them out as young girls. Interestingly, nearly all harkened back to 7th grade where the compulsion to fit in was at its height.

“From a very young age, I wanted to be liked,” said Jessica Weiner, “to please, to have the perfect body, the perfect grades.” This desire to fit in is the hallmark of Approval Seeking, a behavior that sticks with women way past their youth. Funny enough, just an hour ago, I was interviewed by Kathleen Hays of The Hays Advantage on Bloomberg Radio and she said that our identified motivator of Approval Seeking reminded her of “junior high.” Exactly right, except that it sticks. But when consumers resort to it as a crutch for giving the ‘right answer’, and marketers succumb to believing it because it’s the answer that they want to hear, the result is a kind of double jeopardy.

Another interesting element of the piece related to the book, (Yes, “What She’s Not Telling You” our NEW BOOK which is out today…just click on the right and order now!) was their revelation of the origins of the Half Truth motivator: Ego Protection. Shelly Lazarus recalled that even though she was good at math, she underplayed it and went to after-school remedial classes to appear cool, as did Cindi Leive who purposely sabotaged a test to get a lower, ‘cooler’ score.

The reason that Half Truths are hard to break is that they are long held and deeply felt, often nurtured for good or bad, at an early age. Detecting them takes skills that can crack the code. (Yes, they’re in the book!)

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