That new serum is calling your name.
 
The reviews look amazing:
– “Life-changing!”
– “My skin has never looked better!”
 
50% off for 24 hours only.
You add it to your cart, ready to indulge in this skincare treat.  
 
But as you checkout, a notice flashes: 
 
“Only 3 left in stock!”
You rush to enter your credit card, satisfied to score an incredible deal.
 
Or is it?
 

The reality?

Brands play mind games. 
Do their tactics secretly sway you?
 
Brands are masters at influencing us – often without us realizing it. They use subtle psychological tricks to:
 
  • Shape perceptions
  • Trigger emotions  
  • Incite urgency
All to manipulate us to spend more.  
Let’s explore some of the most common ways brands covertly sway us:
 
  1. Vague scarcity  
  2. False consensus  
  3. Anchoring prices and more.
Understanding these sneaky techniques helps us make rational, empowered choices – instead of blind conformity.  
 
Next time you feel swayed, pause. Ask yourself:
 
  • Is this truly what I want?
  • Am I being manipulated?
You have the power to see through the tricks and resist.

Let’s explore some of the most common ways brands secretly manipulate us to spend more money:

1. Free Trials -> False Sense of Friendship

Free trials seem beneficial.
But studies show they trigger a psychological response. 
 
When brands give us something for free, we feel obligated to reciprocate. It’s human nature.  
 
So free trials are actually a brilliant customer acquisition strategy:
 
  • The longer we use something free, the more likely we are to buy
  • Brands make us feel like they’re “doing us a favor”
Recognize free trials as a tactic, not a gift. Be wary of how they subconsciously compel us to purchase.

2. Limited Stock Urgency -> Fear of Missing Out

That “Limited Time Only!” notice? 
 
It’s manipulation.   
Brands know scarcity sparks FOMO
So they artificially limit supplies to pressure us. 
 
Online carts say “3 people viewing” to create false urgency. 
But would you still want the item if unlimited?
 
Before impulse buying limited edition items:
 
  1. Pause
  2. Breathe  
  3. Ask yourself: Do I need this? Or am I reacting to manufactured scarcity?
Don’t let false urgency push you into hasty purchases. 
 
Stay mindful of scarcity tricks.

3. Five-star Reviews & Influencers -> “Social Proof”

We’re wired to follow the crowd. 
 
Online reviews and influencers act as “social proof” that sways our perceptions and purchases.
 
  • If thousands give a product 5 stars ➡️ we assume it must be remarkable.  
  • If an influencer we follow raves about something ➡️ we’re more inclined to buy.
But many reviews are fake, and influencers are paid promotions. 
Brands know we rely on social cues. So…
 
  1. Be skeptical of reviews and influencers as impartial sources.  
  2. Make decisions based on your own research and values.
Relying too much on others’ opinions can lead you astray. Trust your own judgement.

4. Bonus Trick: Anchoring = Evil Comparing

Don’t fall for the “anchoring” sales tactic  
 
Ever notice how some brands set a crazy high price, then offer a “discount”? This makes the new lower price seem like a steal. 
 
For example:
 
  • A $100 jacket ➡️ “Reduced” to $60
  • But $60 may be the normal price all along.  
By first naming an unrealistic high price, brands try to make you think their product is worth more than it is.
 
Be aware of this sneaky tactic.   
 
Before you buy:
 
  1. Research fair prices 
  2. Consider if the original high price seems fake
An informed shopper avoids being fooled by anchoring.
 
Next time you see a “discount”, ask yourself:
 
Is this truly a bargain?
Think critically. Shop smart.

So Should We Buy Anything At All…?

Is your mind playing tricks on you?
 
We all do it:
 
  • Seek info that confirms our beliefs
  • Dismiss facts that challenge them
It’s called confirmation bias. And brands know it.
 
They highlight reviews that match what you already think.  
Pushing your buttons for profit.
 
But you have the power!
How to take back control:
 
  1. Seek out facts that challenge your beliefs
  2. Base choices on truth, not just intuition  
  3. Stay aware of manipulation tactics
Remember:
 
Companies want to influence you.  
➡️ But YOU decide how to spend your money.  
 
Understanding their tricks puts you in the driver’s seat.
 
  • Feel empowered. Stay aware.
  • Make choices that genuinely serve YOU. 
Your mind is the stage – but you control the script. 😉