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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Feb 11, 2022

Were you a fan of The DaVinci Code? I loved that book, and quickly read everything by Dan Brown, which led to a fascination with the world of signs and symbols. I never really thought about how that aligns with my love of brain associations and behavioral economics, but they are very much rooted in the same fascinating topic. 

When I was introduced to Rachel Lawes, by recent guest Elina Halonen, and I got to check out her first book Using Semiotics in Marketing and then an early read of this new book Using Semiotics in Retail, I was hooked and knew I had to share it with you all here on the show. Rachel is here to talk about the ins and outs of semiotics, and some fun stories about how they impact us all the time even when we might not realize it. I really love everything to do with semiotics and I think you will too. 

One of my favorite insights from our conversation is, “Where there is choice, there is meaning.” Take a moment to ruminate on that, and let’s start the show.

Show Notes:

  • [00:47] Sometimes things come up that get me beyond fascinated and this is one of those episodes. It is because of the entire field of semiotics. Signs, symbols, and brain associations and how they impact businesses and buying decisions, it is truly fascinating. 
  • [03:15] Rachel shares about herself and her background, and how she got into the field of semiotics. As a social psychologist, she is all about relationships and how people communicate with each other.
  • [04:24] Semiotics starts out from the view that people in conversation with each other actively and cooperatively build and construct versions of reality.  
  • [06:24] Semiotics is the study of how people interpret and make sense of signs. 
  • [08:15] Rachel shares about the Game Stop stock market saga.  
  • [10:47] Millions of people bought shares in Game Stop with the result that by January of 2021 it was one of the most high-ranking businesses in the world in terms of its shares. 
  • [13:07] Game Stop is a great story about business and how people create meaning amongst themselves. 
  • [16:01] People were very quick to use the tools of language to create a sense of group identity. 
  • [19:01] It simply changed the rules of the game because the stock market was not designed that way. 
  • [21:05] Rachel shares the story from her book about a jam business gone terribly wrong. 
  • [23:41] She went to the jam business and took photos to find out what was keeping people away.
  • [24:03] An essential question in semiotics is “Where have I seen this before?” 
  • [25:13] She shares her findings when she visited the jam business. (Listen for a laugh!)
  • [28:07] When you hear it all explained, it sounds classy, but when you get the comparison you can see the flaws.  
  • [28:57] Trust your instincts. If there is something making you uncomfortable, you need to take that seriously until you find out what that is. 
  • [30:12] “Where have I seen this before?” is one of Rachel’s favorite questions because it is one that her clients can start to use right away. It is also user-friendly for people just beginning semiotics. 
  • [30:45] Where there is choice, there is meaning. 
  • [31:19] She shares an example of Donald Trump’s hair. 
  • [33:50] Rachel shares the hilarious videos of Jeff Bezos and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • [36:56] No matter how much money you have, money will never trump good looks.
  • [40:32] Melina shares her closing thoughts. 
  • [41:42] If you enjoy the experience I’ve provided here for you, will you share about it? That could mean leaving a rating/review or sharing the episode with a friend (or 10!)

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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