It struck me as an extremely significant new development in consumer psychology, and in the following years I have been researching The Fo MO as a socio-cultural phenomenon, as a motivation, and as a personality factor.
The summary below is based on my findings and observations.
Then there’s the consumer’s conceived ability to exhaust as many of the options that she would like to.
If her conceived ability to exhaust is low relative to her reference group (now larger than ever due to social media), then she will use her imagination to build up a perception of what she is missing.
Consequently, the ability to make decisions develops at a young age, consumption begins at infancy, and research shows that the first word uttered by a third of all toddlers is not mommy or daddy but a brand name of some sort.
After the High-Tech revolution in the 90′s, and the internet revolution, X-geners and Y-geners already live in a world molded by their own generation.
The Fo MO experience is based on the fear of – ‘what will I miss because I don’t have the necessary time or money, or because I do have another barrier of some kind?
’ That is an experience that feels somewhat like being a child in a beautiful colorful candy store, having only one quarter in the pocket.
I initially became aware of the phenomenon I named Fo MO – Fear of Missing Out in 1996, during a focus group study for a client of mine.There are three major motivations for consumers seeking variety: In the traditional communities of the 19th century, even in western civilization, the right to choose was completely non-existent. Several 20th century ideologies (such as feminism, socialism, capitalism, and modern democracy) helped develop both our sense of self worth and our ability to choose.The exposure to various and numerous possibilities undermined our belief in absolutes; this is the basis of post-modernity.In 1998 I began working on a new methodology of marketing and branding designed to cater to the needs of Fo MO driven customers, I named it Think Short (as opposed to the conventional, at the time, Think Long exclusive approach in marketing and branding). In 2000 I defined and described Fo MO in an article published in the Journal of Brand Management.Numerous additional articles followed on various marketing and branding websites, some in translation to several languages.In 2005 a chapter on Fo MO by me was included in an academic textbook: Consumer Behavior: Implications for Marketing Strategies Edited by G. In my 2008 book Outsmart the MBA Clones: The Alternative Guide to Competitive Strategy, Marketing and Branding published by Paramount Books (New York), I also devoted a chapter to Fo MO.