When Zomato launched its exclusive membership program ‘Zomato Gold’ the response was overwhelming. In less than a day after the launch, the brand had sold over 40,000 subscriptions. Zomato Gold managed to create FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) for its subscriptions using exclusivity.

Priced at INR 999 for a year & INR 299 for 3 Months the subscription provides special perks like – a complimentary dish and up to 2 complimentary drinks everytime you visit Zomato partner restaurants. Zomato membership program was designed to be exclusive as the brand wanted to test the waters and hence they launched with a discounted pricing for the first 10,000 subscribers. Once the word got out about the subscription referral and word-of-mouth did rest of the work for the brand.

Using FOMO for Content Marketing

FOMO reminds me of the dialogue from the movie ‘Collateral Beauty’ where Will Smith’s character Howard talks about the three abstractions that connect every single human being on the planet. Fear as an emotion has always been used by brands to create a sense of emergency. Insurance brands have exploited the genre more than any other brand you can think of.

“Love. Time. Death. Now these three abstractions connect every single human being on Earth. Everything that we covet, everything that we fear not having, everything that we ultimately end up buying is because at the end of the day we long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.”

– Howard (Will Smith), Collateral Beauty

Sense of Urgency

FOMO as an idea is timeless from Cyber Monday sales to tickets for an exclusive concert most of us have already experienced it as consumers. Urgency entices consumers to spend more money and motivates them to act before time runs out. The clichéd way of doing this includes using visuals which use a countdown timer or hourglass, send a calendar invite followed by series of reminders or remind them of the price hike after the set date. Products can also incorporate FOMO by doing pre-launch user beta to ramp up initial engagement.


Nothing attracts attention like exclusivity, that’s why people sign-up as beta users and wait in a queue to pick the new iPhone. Creating a sense of exclusivity can activate a participants FOMO. Exclusivity makes the participant feel special and part of an elite group. Exclusivity in the physical world is about experience and convenience.


In FOMO participants experience negative emotions but it drives continued viewership and active participation on social media. While inclusivity is typically regarded as a positive trend in the business community, it can have a negative effect on participation, in part, due to the Bystander Effect. The Bystander Effect principle suggests that the more people present at an event, the less likely people are to offer aid to someone in need.

To receive higher participation your brand has narrow the information highly specific and relevant to only a small group of people, and then make it available for only the select audience.


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