Fear, uncertainty, and doubt can get many to behave irrationally. It could be increased consumption of a certain food product, increased lotion or oils for face or body, a crazy new fad that will help “boost” your health, or even purchased defenses like firearms, bomb shelters, and knives. Establishing fear, unfortunately, is a huge marketing strategy that many companies (even countries) try to instill upon their consumers.
Here are the main factors that most marketers exploit
- Perfect Body Figure
- Appearing Wealthy
- “Secrets” for a competitive advantage
- Easy ways to make you extremely wealthy
- Increasing your sex appeal
- Unshattered confidence
There’s an art to fear, uncertainty, and doubt (otherwise known as “FUD”), and has been in practice since the 1920s when industries and consumption were booming in the U.S. after World War 1. The term since then has been reinvented and has since been a fad term for the tech industry. IBM, a leader in technology, practically built their entire marketing strategy through “FUD”, promising their customers their computer hardware outperforms all of their competitors. Their slogan was, “good things will happen to those who stuck with IBM” – which alone has brought in hundreds of millions in sales for this company.
FUD has tremendous value in growing a business. Unfortunately, it also has a history of being manipulated, spun, and deceitful for consumers so much so, that companies were caught black-handed using these tactics, and are now closely monitored for future action.
Here’s are the most famous examples
In 1996, a company called Caldera, Inc accused Microsoft of deceitful FUD practices and not allowing its competitors to participate in beta testing programs. In the Windows 3.0 version, it appears that DRDOS was not able to run on this operating system, which caused its competitors to not be familiarized with the platform. Caldera took Microsoft to court and was awarded $50 million in malpractice charges.
SCO vs. IBM
In 2003, the company SCO filed a $5 billion dollar lawsuit on IBM for intellectual property infringement. IBM countered that SCO is executing a FUD strategy to damage the reputation of IBM. The result of this case that the judge was not persuaded by SCO’s claim especially when there was no apparent evidence in infringement. Further, SCO did not even disclose in detail the damages IBM caused through misappropriation, and the judge made an analogy that if a shoplifter was caught in the store, and the officer refused to announce the item that was stolen – the argument would be completely futile, and the officer would be in the wrong for the accusation.
During this lawsuit, the stock price for SCO drove up from $3 a share all the way to $20 a share! But after the lawsuit, the stock plummeted to nearly 50 cents and eventually folded.
It’s obvious that security provides protection. It’s also obvious the amount of FUD tactics needed to have a well-sustained company as well. Artifical problems, manufactured fear, media spun stories, corrupt politics, exaggerated war and disaster all are part of the marketing mix for this industry. And while many industries have flourished with these campaigns, the same companies have also jaded their customers and lost brand loyalty for them to purchase additional equipment.
In Australia, a company called Caltex was stated to using FUD tactics in order to get a better deal for the company. According to a leaked email, Caltex was implementing a strategy to de-stabilize franchises in order to renegotiate a new deal. The leaked email was then sent to the Senate, and heavily condemned the company for using such practices and was later fined for deceitful practice.
What’s Going on with Bitcoin and China?
FUD is no stranger when it comes to Bitcoin. And while the cryptocurrency is growing exponentially, public figures and even COUNTRIES are executing FUD tactics to intently impact prices of Bitcoin for their competitive advantage. China for one has been notoriously on the news for feeding the media questionable statements on where they stood on Bitcoin. In recent news, China told the press that they would outright BAN ALL cryptocurrencies in their country, which dropped BTC to a whopping $500 lower than expectation! They installed the perfect FUD strategy that scared many investors to immediately sell their cryptocurrency.
But now that Bitcoin has rebounded to its normal state, many, including influencers are looking deeper into China’s tactics. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, Tweeted:
It looks like FUD is the main cause for impact with the rise of cryptocurrencies. This is China’s 2nd effort in an attempt to ban cryptocurrencies altogether. But as speculated, it most likely won’t happen. Will China’s reputation be ruined if they keep practicing FUD tactics? When will investors smarten up and decipher what is real vs. fake news? For us smart investors, it would be wise to follow the false media closely to see when the next drop for BTC will occur.