You the Maasai warrior?

Kenya’s Maasai tribe has become an icon of a people whose traditions, beliefs and routines have changed little since the dawn of our history. (Some people unfortunately tend to use words such as primitive to describe those kinds of societies.)

But wait, what have you got in common with the Massai? You = a modern, sophisticated, cosmopolitan individual not bound in the least by any archaic beliefs, right? Would you believe me if I said that you are in many ways much like the above Maasai warrior?

But don’t take my word for it. Check out this excerpt from Ernest Dichter’s remarkable book The Strategy of Desirewhich suggests that our contemporary behaviour is much less ‘modern’ than we often assume:

“Primitive cultures know and use non-verbal forms of human strategy without blushing. We, as logical people, insist on verbal communication, logical appeals. Our true communications, however, are not too far removed from primitive symbolism. Flags, uniforms, the way we build our houses, how we dress, and what we use and buy in every day products are all part of a second language, a language universally spoken, hardly taught. There is much evidence to show that it is the non-verbal, implied communication that is much more often the effective one than the pure logical verbal form of communication.”
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Case in point: The American Express Red Campaign ‘My Card, My Life.”

Sure, the American Express Red Campaign ‘My Card, My LIfe’, may have a noble aim; to donate 1% of all Red-card spendings to AIDS elimination in Africa, but why does its print campaign showing Supermodel Gisele posing next to an African Masai Warrior? Is it because American Express knows that our most effective communications are not too far removed from primitive symbolism?

My2¢: For business building ideas that last, study the winners. Study American Express.