Why Athletes Wear Lucky Socks (and What That Has to Do With Marketing)

I just got off the most terrifying zoom meeting with my dance teacher, wherein I hollered in frustration, “This is why athletes wear lucky socks!”

So here’s what happened…

My latin dance teacher decided to have private one-one classes rather than a group class this week. This is a gift, because her private class rates are 10x more expensive than her group rates. 

Even still, I hate the idea.

An opportunity to scrutinize my dancing up close over video? I shudder with horror at the thought.

So, I show up for the meeting. I practiced. I swear I did.

The music starts. Nothing happens. My feet refuse to move. I can’t remember the first step.

She starts the music over a second time. And a third.


Finally, I start doing the dance from counts. 1, 2, 3, 4… 5, 6, 7, 8…

That worked fine.

The whole dance was in there somewhere, but it had become disconnected from the music.

I believe the technical term for this malady is “brain fart.”

So embarrassing.

At which point, I yelled to the heavens… yes, you guessed it… “This is why athletes wear lucky socks!”

So why do athletes wear lucky socks?

I used to think it was superstition, but now I know better.

Athletes wear lucky socks because socks are something they can control.

When you go to a new city, and perform for a new audience, under new circumstances, everything is NEW.

I know we tell people in marketing that our customers love new. 

“New is fun,” we say. 

“New inspires curiosity.” 

“New is the answer to all our marketing woes.”

But the dark reality of new is that: NEW fires up the amygdala into full-on fight or flight if you don’t handle it correctly.

And if your customer is in fight or flight mode, chances are they’re going to flee (which is EXACTLY what I wanted to do on today’s zoom dance meeting.)

Luckily, my teacher is also my friend. 

And she knows that tech can be overwhelming, especially if you have a love-hate relationship with cameras (which most people do). So she told jokes and helped me calm down, so I could do the dance.

Here’s the takeaway: Your customer’s brain is programmed to look for danger first. And anything new can look like danger, even if it’s not. 

So, do everything you can to make your offer seem like a completely normal extension of what they were already thinking, that way you can give them the fun sensation of new, without the top-of-the-roller-coaster-looking-down effect.

If you’re curious to know the unique formula that will give your customer the right balance of new, plus familiar in your marketing, take the Action Cue Formula quiz here. It’s free and fun.