It is never easy to inspire people to do what is best for themselves and the community. We want that to be the case. But humans are cluttered and complex organisms. Unlike computer-generated algorithms that permeate our lives, we are not made of programmable bits and bytes.
That is why there have been so many attempts – and many failures – to encourage people to behave well. Just look at the latest vaccination and disguise efforts.
Some experiments use fear to inspire behavior, but the effectiveness of the approach is questionable at best. On the other hand, positive messages have been shown to persuade people to avoid certain activities.
GeoSure chooses positivity, safety and confidence over fears and dangers. This is something we have imagined from the very beginning of GeoSure. As a data-driven startup that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, GeoSure generates real-time safety data for more than 65,000 neighborhoods worldwide.
Safety results – which cover eight categories, including measurements for women, LGBTQ + and night movements – can be easily marketed in terms of fear. But from the beginning we wanted to turn the model upside down.
We choose hope, not panic. We choose to enable people with accurate data that enable them and the larger community to make smarter decisions.
We offer large businesses – and federal, state and local agencies, including travel boards – based on the empowerment, confidence, and emotional and physical well-being that our data provides. The experience is deliberately designed for the end user. This is also different.
Behind our approach is a strong evolutionary science. After all, if we are well-meaning but scientifically unfounded, we will not succeed in our mission.
GeoSure understands that humans are organisms that process information. Humans have evolved with the ability to quickly identify and evaluate information that determines whether they will survive or die, whether it’s the sound of a woolly mammoth or the smell of deadly mushrooms. We no longer live in a thriving or dying environment, but our biological heritage still reacts as if we do.
For these hard reasons, not positioning GeoSure to deeply engage our fear instincts may seem counterintuitive. After all, there is a reason why the mantra of local news has long been “if it bleeds, it leads”. Danger attracts attention.
But let’s go one step deeper. In insidious situations – whether the threat in our immediate environment comes in the form of pachyderm or as data from a digital platform – we are programmed to respond in one of three ways: battle, escape or freeze.
But if you want to know if it’s safe to travel to a local restaurant at 9 pm in an unfamiliar city, the three “F’s” won’t help. What will help is the soothing, authoritative, trustworthy experience that GeoSure provides. This emotional context is just as consistent with our evolved brain as waving the banner of fear.
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In fact, we are programmed to both avoid hazards and look for opportunities, which GeoSure makes possible. The opportunity is related to the centers of pleasure and reward in the brain. GeoSure can reach those with its adventure message that motivates you to take this journey. Do you take the trip to minimize the danger? Or to maximize positive experiences while feeling empowered and safe? GeoSure thinks it’s the last one.
Moreover, GeoSure encourages people to contribute to the safety of the community. There are many studies that show that people get pleasure by focusing on the common good.
In short, we are replacing the short-term marketing of fear with the long-term promise of prosperity. Fear is toxic, the anxiety it causes leads to emotional and physiological damage, including the release of cortisol, which causes inflammation. In contrast, the positivity associated with GeoSure will generate what is called “chronic positivity”. Aren’t employees and customers more reserved, constructive and better decision-makers in a confident attitude than when they are anxious and restless?
The positive arc extends from GeoSure to everyone in our network – the companies that offer our platform to employees and customers of partner cities, local tour boards and, of course, end users.
In a sense, this boils down to a cognitive bias known as the “availability heuristic”: anything that is familiar or comes to mind is considered common or typical. So when we are bombarded with negative information about something, we will think of that thing as negative. If we are presented with positive information instead, we will think about it in a positive way. Which would you prefer to experience?
It’s so simple and deep.