When I was in elementary school many years ago, one of the playground games that we enjoyed was Tug of War. We would divide ourselves, usually by choosing a team captain for each of the two teams and then the captains would take turns picking their teammates.
Each team would have the same number of players. Someone would draw a line in the dirt in the middle of the two teams. Then, each side would grab an end of a long rope and with a count to 3, the game would start and each player would pull with all their might.
The object of the game was to pull the other team across the line. The team able to pull the opposing team across the line would be declared the winner.
The strategy that both teams used was to place the strongest teammates at the end of the line to serve as “anchors” of the team. This is a great strategy in business as well.
Anchoring is a business term which basically means to use very specific human stimuli to produce a certain action. For example, if every time a commercial comes on as 7 p.m. it shows a juicy hamburger from a fast-food restaurant and the next thing you know you're headed to the drive-thru of your nearest location, then that franchise has successfully anchored your desire with their ads.
One example I’ve heard is about an ice-cream truck. If when you hear the music of an ice-cream truck and you begin desiring your favorite flavor, then you know you’ve been anchored by the relationship of the truck’s music and your favorite ice-cream. More than likely it's because of your fond childhood memories of running to the ice-cream truck to buy a treat at the sound of the music.
Years ago my mom was a manager of a department store cafeteria, when business was slow, she used a technique to draw customers in the store. She would park the popcorn cart outside the entrance of the store and pop hot buttered popcorn. She tied brightly colored balloons to the cart and waited. The smell of the buttery bites would scent the parking lot and people who had planned to go to another store in the strip mall, would suddenly find themselves in her store and at her cafeteria counter.
The idea was not just to draw them in the store, it was to condition customers to think of the store and the restaurant any time they smelled popcorn.
Anchoring links what we as consumers, business partners and even employees desire with the senses that are attached to the product or serve, such as a scent, sound or something that we see. It is an effective business strategy because it is tied to our emotions and memories.
Whether it’s catchy jingles, popcorn in the parking lot, mouth-watering ads or bargain prices, anchor your business or organization to something that brings up good memories and thoughts, and you’ll be declared a winner!