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Influence Principle #1: Scarcity

This is how our human nature works – the less there is of something, the more valuable it is.

Well, this statement in and of itself, is flawed. Take the frenzy in overnight queues for smartphones, for example. The concern about getting one’s hands over the latest gadget does not mean that the same gadget that comes later is any less valuable than the one in the initial launch!

The point is, scarcity, perceived or real, works.

Scarcity is one of the most powerful psychological triggers we can experience. Just look at how the narrative over Bitcoin has played out. If you have yet to get into the fray yet, the most common “logic” amongst the “coined community” is that “there will only be 21 million to ever be mined.”

Scarcity forces a decision and this is where as marketers, brand communicators, copywriters, should deploy it as far as possible to nudge customers into making a decision. If something is truly scarce, they will need to get that product/service before the supply runs out.

Application for marketers, brand communicators, copywriters

1. To execute a campaign well, some form of scarcity needs to be built into the campaign logic.

Capitalise on the consequence if the person does not buy. For example, use a time-sensitive element to the offer. This is now the sales tactic in store even for luxury goods. The sales ambassadors and client servicing officers use the technique to inform clients that the prices of the goods will increase by 10% in the next few weeks and by then, the client will have to spend more to get the same product. So why not today?

2. Sensitivity to losses are generally higher than that of sensitivity to gains.

In the copy of the campaign or your brief to those executing the campaign, switch from discussing benefits of the products/services to emphasising opportunity costs/losses from not buying. Play the time-sensitivity element along with this sensitivity to losses and you will have a powerful effect in instilling buy-in.

Copyright SYL+JAS (c) 2021. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or rewritten in any form without expressed permission from the agency.


Copywriting is in its very essence, selling. Each billboard, magazine, radio, social media ad, or even a post from an influencer, is attempting to sell you something. Yes, even if it is just a model with a bag and nothing else but a logo.

Good salesmanship in writing is both an art and a science. It requires a dedication to sharpen your writing skills to connect better with your customers.

To learn the industry techniques of top copywriters - follow our narrative here:


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