Give a little, get a little more

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Ever since Nancy Harhut, chief creative at The Wilde Agency, explained to me last fall how subconscious human tendencies inform the agency's creative output, I have been intrigued as to how psychology can serve as a foundation for campaign success. 

Now, I realize The Wilde Agency is by no means the first or only agency to employ psychological principles in their work, but it was interesting hearing firsthand exactly how and why the creative took shape the way it did.

In her nytimes.com blog today, MP Mueller talks about how human predilection toward reciprocity influences behavior, a principle marketers have been exploiting for generations. In short, when a person receives something – anything, really – inborn protocol inclines that person to want to reciprocate a gift back unto the giver.

Mueller cites classic direct marketers, like Tupperware, as well more unlikely marketing case study subjects, such as Hare Krishna Society. Both entities have thrived on the element of giving first, in hopes of getting back more than was ventured.

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