One of the world's oldest marketing secrets
Source: Guerric on Flickr
I. Perception is Reality
“Oprah’s greatest strength has always been her ability to help us,” President Obama said, mere moments before pinning the prestigious medal on Oprah.
According to Law 40 of the 48 Laws of Power — to give a gift to another is to place the recipient under obligation.
Say thank you! our parents scolded us in youth, so as to impress upon our youthful psyches this sense of obligation. Pause for reflection, if you will, and truly ponder what’s being suggested here.
To grasp the above insight is to know why historically the kings and queens of the world have delighted in bestowing gifts but were said to occasionally take offense when offered a gift. Aha! No wonder Oprah’s nickname is the Queen of All Media.
“The beginning of wisdom," said Socrates, "is the definition of terms.”
Armed with the Socratic method, it becomes apparent why the word rich essentially means "to have more than you need."
Because there’s no reality, only perception, your perception must be your reality. For this reason, the giver is always perceived as richer than the recipient. Think about it. ...
The homeless fella who begs for change on the subway, though his true reason for asking for change stems from hopes of securing a change of his misery, unknowingly violates one of the world’s oldest marketing secrets.
So ancient is this old yet paradoxical insight into marketing that thousands of years ago the Nazarene advised his disciples:
“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
C’est la vie.
II. All the World Loves a Cheerful 'Giver'
“It’s the weirdest thing, but as soon as you make it big and are pulling down the kind of salary where you never have to worry about money again, brands and other rich celebs can’t give you free stuff often enough.” — Amber Garrett
“What’s up with rich celebs getting expensive free gifts they can easily afford?” reads the headline of Garrett’s article.
The answer to Garrett’s riddle lies in knowing that human nature can no more change than leopards change their spots. For this reason, history repeats itself. And to those of us who listen closely, history can be overheard mumbling: people smile at the sunrise yet frown at the sunset.
Again, the perception of being rich or having more than enough is reality. And nothing heightens this perception more than giving; nothing diminishes it more than receiving. Perhaps this explains why Jay-Z once rapped, “Do me a favor — don’t do me no favors!”
By giving, noted Greene in the 48 Laws of Power, you essentially enhance your reputation. After all, everyone loves a generous person. And because reputation is the cornerstone of power, there is no greater marketing power to be found than that of being perceived as a giver.
The boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. famously gifted his pal a $200,000 Bentley for his birthday. When Thomas was asked what he bought Mayweather in return, he chuckled. And then noted, “C’mon, you know — Floyd gets mad if you try to buy him something.”
Perhaps Mayweather intuitively grasps why Aristotle once said the man armed with the upper hand “is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him. To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination.”
As for Mayweather’s nickname Money, perhaps he merely strives to embody Emerson’s grand insight:
“It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
Emerson called the above principle “The Law of Compensation.”
When Mark Zuckerberg’s friends and family pestered him to slap a price tag on his fledgling Facebook company, Zuckerberg — armed with an intuitive grasp of the Law of Compensation — replied by refusing to charge a single penny.
“By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent.” — Mark Zuckerberg
Notice he used the word giving.
III. In Closing
From Zuckerberg, the youngest self-made billionaire in history, to Oprah — the first Black female billionaire in history — the above theme persists. “What I know for sure is what you give comes back to you!” Oprah once declared.
When Oprah stepped down from her talk show, Ellen DeGeneres abruptly seized the throne as the new Queen of Daytime TV. Though the name for your highness changed, the use of the oldest marketing principle remained the same.
From her famed 12 Days of Giveaways to gifting a family $1 million on her talk show, Ellen never once strays from the Law of Compensation, which is but shorthand for — rich people would rather give than receive.
Armed with the Socratic method, it becomes apparent to compensate means to repay… or give back.
No wonder the greatest investor in modern history — Warren Buffett — thought it wise to use the Law of Compensation to invest… pardon… to donate $37,000,000,000 to charity. After all, is not the very definition of money the medium of exchange or compensation?
Perhaps the above insight explains why the incredible headline of an article in the business section of TIME reads — Famous People Get $100K Worth of Free Stuff Annually.
In short, the reason it has long been said the rich get richer is that most rich people — whether knowingly or intuitively — primarily operate from one of the oldest principles of marketing:
"It is better to give than to receive.”