Envy is a feeling of resentful longing aroused by another person’s possessions, qualities, or luck. It is what happens when a person finds themselves wishing that they had something that another person has, often with resentment towards said person.

Envy is everywhere around us. Predominantly, it can be explicitly seen in what most celebrities would call “haters”. These are people that want what they have but can’t have it and so they turn their jealousy into resentment. It is a fundamental vice that plagues us and most of us end up envious of others due to the comparative world we live in. Social media, especially platforms like Instagram that are engineered to psychologically make you compare your life to others has greatly increased the amount of envy floating around in the world. If there was an “envy”ometer, this particular period in history (the 2010s onwards) would have the highest reading.

While I am not going to attempt to convince you to not be envious of others, I am going to suggest that you utilize the envy that others have for each other to your advantage. Social media is the main culprit here, with Instagram taking the cake.

Envy on Instagram

Instagram is consistently showing you the content of other people living their best lives thus triggering a feeling of either jealousy or envy. They understand that it is a human vice and rather than fighting it, they optimize for it. Ethically speaking it may be questionable, but from a business perspective, they probably make a lot more out of riding the tide of envy.

How you can invest in it

When picking a business to invest in based on envy, you can ask a few questions to evaluate to what degree it satisfies the vice. Here are a few questions you could ask:

  • Does the business allow its customers to compare to each other?
  • Does the business lead to events that make competitors jealous? This could mean that the business gives customers the ability to fulfil a regulatory requirement that allows them to score clientelle that their competitors simply cannot cost effectively.
  • If the business sells to other businesses, does it make the competitors of the customers less competitive?

Comparison is the thief of joy but the seed of envy.

Theodore Roosevelt (and an addition from me)

Marketing a business using envy

For those that intend to start a business instead of investing in one, it is also worth noting that envy can be used as a marketing tool. Picture the typical “financial guru” advert where they show you how much stuff they have. Stuff that you wouldn’t mind having (thus triggering your jealous/envious side) and them trying to tell you that they can share the method they used to get to the position they are in. For example; Tai Lopez is infamous for this, showing a bunch of exotic vehicles to trigger the vice in you.

To successfully use envy as a marketing tool, you need to follow a few steps:

  1. Show your audience something they want.
    • Show them what they are missing out on.
    • If it is a problem they don’t know they have, create the problem in their minds by connecting it to something they want. Here, show don’t tell.
  2. Tell them that they can have it too.
  3. Plug your product
    • For physical products; Show them how your product helps them get what you just showed them that they want in step 1.
    • For digital products/services; give them a hint of how they can have it. Enough to be curious but not enough to be satisfied. Great for selling courses.

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