TMT… and Peanuts!

During this week of my internship, I worked to enhance my company’s social media outreach. While considering the content of these social media posts, I had to consider multiple variables before posting. The variables I encountered were vastly intertwined with cultural values and social roles. As a result, I found myself dealing with similar concepts described in Terror Management Theory. 

In order to develop an interest in the company’s products, I deeply considered the culture and social perspectives of my target audience. At Virginia Gourmet, our customer base was between 30 and 60 years of age, white, and mostly Christian. Given this information, I worked to brand our products in a manner that would provide a meaningful message, and reinforce existing beliefs within this demographic. Most of this work was done on Facebook (our target demographic has the highest level of activity on Facebook), with some instagram stories and videos mixed in every so often. In our company’s posts, I would include trigger words in product descriptions that were also found in the bible. In one instance, I used the phrase “The Lord himself hasn’t witnessed better peanuts!”. While this was a more direct reference, witness was also an additional trigger word I included to stimulate the reader’s sense of cultural value. In another circumstance, I used the number seven five times in two sentences. The number seven is the most prominent and meaningful number found in the bible. 

By symbolically connecting our products to our target audience, buying our products delivers not only a material sense of value, but also value emotionally. In TMT, psychological equanimity requires that individuals perceive themselves as persons of value in a world of meaning. If our products subliminally are reinforcing cultural and social values within our customers, they are more likely to buy them. By utilizing theories from TMT to format the company’s social media posts/network, I was able to greatly strengthen product perception (and more importantly sales).