Your website users are predictable.

(As are the predictable behaviours of my website users, so if I’ve got this right, you’ll enjoy this blog).

Caveman psychology - Avant Commercial photographer Phil Burrowes dips into behavioural science marketeers use to sell stuff.
caveman psychology – 1.0

My latest pair of Nike Air Force Ones (I got my first pair in 1985) were so gnarly they could have benefitted science in the search for new strains of life. WHO sent me notice of their need to be destroyed. They’re gone – to the footlocker in the sky. 

As Will Smith said :

Hustle to the mall to get me a short set
Yeah, I gotta on sneaks but I need a new pair
‘Cause basketball courts in the summer got girls there..


I need new creps and already know what I want. 

I’ll just get another pair of Air Force One’s because I’m lazy – Or is it that Nike somehow predicted my website use and influenced my purchase by making it so easy to do so?

Nike have hard sold the idea that Air Force One’s are ‘limited’ or hard to find, it’s genius marketing – their perceived exclusivity and rarity being high order qualities that make them more desirable.

I am a loyal customer of Nike, following them on Twitter and Instagram, reading the emails they send as a fully subscribed entrant on their database of engaged customers. They make me feel special by thanking me for being a member of their online Members Loyalty Club.

The result is I see a ridiculous amount of marketing messages from Nike – Every. Single. Day.

I love their story based visual marketing, their dedication to great photography, the stories tell of their journey to strive for excellence and their support of athletes.


I’m not alone: Nike is the largest ‘sneaker maker’ among some heavyweight brands, such as Adidas. In third position is Puma. Puma take a staggering $30bn dollars less revenue than Nike. – they have a loyal following that feel the same way as me.

Nike spend millions on their socially aware and socially influenced campaigns, (see Colin Kaepernick Ad Campaign – in support of BLM and civil rights against Police brutality) to convey a story that appeals to loyal customers.

Once upon a time…

Stories enable brands to contact customers regularly, delivering desirable messages and generating interest. Stories work by enabling people to expend cognitive energy, investing time and thought, absorbing the messages designed to build belief in a brand. 

The stories shared must be relevant and relatable to a wide gamut of demographics (Or focussed on a niche group). It’s not just a random collection of anecdotes, rather: a collection of messages with a similar theme, designed to evoke similar responses with each exposure, constructing strong connections within customers, to appeal to them as a brand that understands them, shares their beliefs and is OK to buy a pair of £150 trainers from as: “they get it, man!”

As humans, we love stories, it’s a throwback to our stone age ancestry, where we built relationships and trust by telling stories around the campfire – it also stopped us from eating each other. 

Making customers feel like they are part of your journey and connecting on an emotional level, deep within their psyche, ensures that when they do take an action from a message, (to visit the website or click on a link in a social media post) the decision to buy is already made. Then, all you need to do is make the purchase a simple one, with minimal actual effort required to complete – See UX design.
I am fully invested in Nike. I like their product and mostly forgive their exploitation of sweatshops in the 90’s.  (1)

Storytelling photography

I tell stories with my commercial photography. It’s what I’m known for, from car parks to health products, each shot is designed to evoke a feeling within a viewer.Used in conjunction with great copy you can build your brand by telling stories.I’d gladly take the millions of dollars Nike spend on their marketing, but we can start a little lower at just £250 for a Mini Day in the Life Photoshoot.

We should still live in caves – but have better footwear.

Our 21st Century online existence is bewildering to our stone age brains. It’s basic human nature to subconsciously disseminate marketing messages to enable our brains, (which are still commanded a great deal by our stone age evolution), to sort them into manageable portions, helping us to decide what is important, relevant or interesting to us or, that should just be totally ignored.

Our brains also tell us which of our own thoughts we should believe. We form these thoughts based on knowledge, as well as ‘nurture’ and our self belief settles internal arguments when making decisions – even in purchases.

Nike’s website is designed in such a way, at huge expense, to ensure the products I want are easy to find and buy, algorithms decide which ones to show me, predicting my journey to make it as easy as possible for someone as lazy as me to buy. You can do this on your website, too. With a little thought.

People are lazy and use heuristic pathways to make their meandering through life’s tribulations as easy as possible so as not to strain themselves when choosing whether to order Chinese or Pizza.

My exposure to Nike’s marketing has influenced my buying decision – there’s far too much choice in the trainers market and I am too busy to investigate further. I am thinking about hugely important things, like what’s for dinner? Has the car got fuel? Did I take a hayfever tablet today, has season 4 of Stranger Things started, yet?

Despite all this noise, I am convinced (because Nike’s marketing team tells me so) that I am my own man and make my own decisions. My rigid, unwavering loyalty to wearing Air Force Ones is the right choice! I am somehow individual and unique in my purchase, showing style, charisma and individuality because my cognitive agility – arguing with my own consciousness about my needs and desires – tell me that they are the shoe for me.

Human behaviour is predictable.

Every single decision made and step along my journey to purchase has been influenced, predicted, served up with cherries on top, personally addressed in emails, leaving a delicious little trail of treats, (From when I was first shown the story about Matthew Frasers pain as a crossfitter on Nike’s Instagram feed, to the shopping cart that already has my credit card details and auto fills my shipping address), every stage enabling my laziness. Lining the pockets of Alan Nike. (Alan Nike is the owner of Nike, right?)

Big Brand Marketing Professionals know all of this. As a business owner you should too! You can use human psychology as a powerful tool in your marketing messages. Predicting behaviour enables us to predict and provoke positive customer actions. Understanding human psychology enables you to lay down irresistible morsels of deliciousness in easy to digest crumbs. Knowing the journey your customers will make enables you to influence those steps, gently guiding your customers from your social media posts, skipping merrily to the shopping cart on your website. Just like Nike have manipulated me into staying loyal to their brand and buying the same fucking sneaker for 36 years… I’m even calling them sneakers…jeeeesh!

Take a look at the Mini Day in the Life photoshoot and Day in the Life options to start telling the story of your business.
Improve the visual content on your website and social media, connect with clients and start marketing your business smarter.

There’s a joke here somewhere about how I should try to get you to book a photoshoot for your business – Maybe I should tell you to just do it… I could, but then Nike also have a bloody massive legal department, too…

I’ll be sharing more nuggets of marketing wisdom soon. Let me know what you think of this blog and feel free to share –

Follow me on my social channels to get links when the next blog arrives

Reference: (1) Nike Tolerates Sweatshops – The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/may/20/burhanwazir.theobserver (2) Just Do It – What we can learn from Nikes $39bn Marketing strategy – Single Grain – https://www.singlegrain.com/marketing-strategy/nikes-39-billion-marketing-strategy-just-do-it-like-nike-does/ (3) Colin Kaepernick Story – Marketing Dive – https://www.marketingdive.com/news/nike-sees-1400-surge-in-social-buzz-after-kaepernick-ad/531572/?referrer_site=www.mobilemarketer.com

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