Understanding Mimetic Desire: How a French Philosopher Can Help Your Branded Podcast Perform


Harnessing the power of mimetic desire for your branded podcast.


In the ever-growing world of podcasts, standing out among the myriad of options available can be a daunting challenge for brand strategy podcast tactics. One way to rise above the noise is by understanding and leveraging the concept of mimetic desire. In this article, we’ll explore what mimetic desire is and how your branded podcast can take advantage of this powerful psychological phenomenon.

What is Mimetic Desire?Book on mimetics

Mimetic desire, a term coined by French philosopher René Girard, refers to the human tendency to imitate the desires and preferences of others. The concept of mimetic desire was also explored by Luke Burgis in Wanting, a book we recommend every marketing leader reads. 

This phenomenon is deeply ingrained in our nature as social beings, and it often leads to competition for the same objects or goals. 

Simply put, we often want what others want because we see them wanting it. 

Ethan And Cameron white lotus
Did You Watch The White Lotus?

Consider the case of Ethan and Cameron, where Cameron initially undervalues women as potential romantic partners until his old college buddy Ethan confirms their worth (in this case, Cameron’s wife). This affirmation prompts Cameron to pursue his wife.

In addition, we often view models, whether they be institutions, parents, or mentors, as a benchmark for achieving a fulfilling life. Suppose you idolize a writer and decide to follow their path by attending the same university or competing for the same internships as they did, hoping to become a successful author. Or suppose you walk into a bakery and find no pastries appealing until your friend, a renowned chef, recommends a plain croissant, and suddenly you have the same desire.

Think about the next time you’re on Instagram or TikTok. How do you feel after these influencers share their favorite clothes, music, or vacation spots?

What about podcasts?

How Your Branded Podcast Can Leverage Mimetic Desire

Understanding the power of mimetic desire can be a game-changer for your branded podcast. By tapping into this natural human tendency, you can create a buzz around your podcast and attract more listeners. 

Here are some strategies to help you leverage it:

Collaborate with Influencers:

Partnering with influencers in your industry or niche can help you create a sense of social proof and mimicry around your podcast. When influencers share or recommend your podcast, their followers will be more likely to check it out and, in turn, recommend it to others. One of the best ways to do this is by leveraging the guests on your show. Most of them are influencers with large followings. Provide them with the information and tools (artwork, links) so that they can easily share.

Encourage Social Sharing: 

Make it easy for your listeners to share your podcast episodes on social. Encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences, creating a sense of FOMO among their friends and followers, who will then be more likely to tune in to your podcast. Provide links to the most popular podcast directories on your landing page (Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon) or use smartlinks when sharing the podcast in emails or on social so that your audience can easily share the show and give their audience and easy listening experience. Also, create an easy to remember custom URL for your show’s landing page to encourage sharing. 

Create Exclusive Content:

Offer unique, exclusive content to your listeners that they won’t find anywhere else. If you’re a financial institution, give your listeners access to a private report. If you’re a retailer giver your listeners early access to a sale. Or if you’re an entertainment brand give your listeners early access to an event. This can create a sense of competition and scarcity, making people more likely to want to listen to your podcast to avoid missing out on valuable information or insights. 

Build a Strong Brand Identity: 

By creating a strong brand identity for your podcast, you can make it more likely that people will identify with your content and want to share it with others. This includes a distinctive visual design, a unique tone of voice, and a clear mission and message that resonates with your audience.

Success stories
Showcase Listener Success Stories:

Share stories of your listeners benefiting from your podcast content, whether it’s through learning something new, overcoming a challenge, or achieving a personal goal. This will create a sense of aspiration and desire among potential listeners who want to experience similar successes.

Engage in Community Building: 

Foster a sense of community among your podcast listeners by engaging with them on social media, hosting live events or webinars, and creating a space where they can connect with one another. This will make your listeners feel more invested in your podcast and more likely to share it with others who share their interests.

Mimetic desire is a powerful force that can significantly impact the success of your branded podcast. By understanding and leveraging this phenomenon, you can create a buzz around your podcast, attract more listeners, and ultimately, achieve greater success in the crowded podcast landscape. 

Want to explore other ways to get the best content out of your branded podcast? Check out this post.

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