Selling security is tricky, or at least it can be. On the one hand, you’re selling it as a protection (which it is) against potential future events which, if they happened, would be very bad. In that light, using a bit of fear to gently prod a homeowner into considering the need for security can be a legitimate path. On the other hand, when we discuss safety and security, it should be as something positive, so dwelling for too long on the potentially bad ramifications really isn’t helpful. Every security company needs to strike a balance between these. And, as with everything, some companies do it better than others.
This balance has been on my mind recently, largely due to an article I saw: Why Broadview Security Keeps Making Ads That Scare the Hell Out of Us. The basic premise of the article is that fear sells, and Broadview (the article claims) is exploiting that fear. We’ve all seen the commercials. An attractive young woman is home alone, and some stranger (or not a stranger) appears at a window or door and does something drastic: Kicking in a front door or smashing a window. The alarm system immediately sounds and the would-be attacker flees the scene. By the time the young woman is in her bedroom, the phone is ringing and Broadview is on the other end.
It’s a nice scene. It’s also unrealistic. Most security systems have a delay so that you can arm or disarm your system when you walk in your front door. The alarm simply won’t go off that quickly if we’re talking about the front door. Similarly, security industry standards dictate a certain dialer delay so that you can disarm your system in the event of a false alarm, even before it calls the central station; which means the phone won’t be ringing within seconds. Finally, most burglars aren’t trying to smash your doors or windows in, especially when they know you’re home. Most intruders are looking for crimes of opportunity.
Now, it’s easy to pick on Broadview (formerly Brinks) for this. Heck, even Saturday Night Live created skits that mocked Broadview’s selling point. But the question of using fear to sell security is something that every company must deal with. When companies try to sell you coats, they don’t do so by showing you someone inches from frostbite. Fear isn’t used in those cases, because the positive side of owning a coat is far greater than emphasizing what potentially bad ramifications could come from not owning one. Why can’t security be the same way?
What are the positive sides to having a monitored security system? Some of this may just seem like semantics, but I think it’s more than that. A security system means peace of mind; it means relaxing in your home knowing that your family is safe. And while that may seem to be simply the flip-side of fear, it’s a question of how companies play with your emotions. Buying a security system so that you can have a happy, peaceful home life is a much better way to make a decision than because you are simply afraid of a potential burglar.
What else? Today’s home security systems are far more than just burglar alarms. Many packages allow you to control lights, thermostats, locks, and more. Home automation is huge, and has absolutely nothing to do with fear; though it has everything to do with control.
And that brings us to our ultimate point: Home security is about control. It’s about controlling your home, your possessions, even your peace of mind. And between you and me, that’s a much better reason to purchase home security than fear.