Marketers need to focus on human psyche, behaviour for better products and campaigns

Speakers at Zee Melt spoke on the need to include human instincts in a data-driven world.

MUMBAI: Technology has brought development in terms of the language that marketers use, the platforms they use to target consumers efficiently, and the stories they are telling. But all this has also led to a significant ignorance of the core of communication campaigns- the humans they are being served to. The narratives are highly data-driven and often ignore human sentiments as they have evolved over the centuries. The first day of Zee Melt 2019 saw two of the speakers touching broadly on this topic of utilising human insights for creating meaningful campaigns and products.

KO Insights founder and CEO Kate O’Neil noted that if one takes business outcomes and aligns them with human outcomes, it will create a better success rate for the ecosystem. She shared that while technology advances to fulfil business objectives, it also should comply with the basic human needs and behaviours as well.

She added that the only thing that diversifies humans from bots, and also other living beings, is their constant urge to find meaning in everything. They are good at picking nuances and detecting what matters to them. However, she added that there is a thin line between absurdity and meaning, which the brands and marketers will have to tread carefully.

Citing an example of Amazon Go stores, Kate made an interesting observation that those stores do not allow people to pick things off the shelves for fellow shoppers or they will have to pay for it. This essentially means that people are expected to ‘not help’ others. Kate put forth a pressing question asking how long would it take for people to develop a behaviour of not helping anyone in any context. She said, “This might sound like a far-reaching possibility. But experience at scale does change the culture because experience at scale ‘is’ culture.”

Kate emphasised on the need to use data attentively and sensibly to create meaningful organisations, brands, and experiences that have their dwellings in the human insight and behaviour patterns.

In another interesting session discussing what marketers and creative agencies are missing, Ogilvy UK vice chairman Rory Sutherland emphasised on the need to understand the consumers more on a psychological ground than leaning on economics and finance. He said, “We should design things around perception and not reality.”

Rory gave an interesting example of how Redbull emerged as a big competition to cola brands by using its ‘gives you wings’ placement. He noted that Redbull deliberately has a slightly unpleasant taste and smaller cans than cola bottles, to give the human mind a perception that it can possibly be a medicine that can give them instant energy. “No one expects medicine to taste good, and bigger packs will mean that it can give you crazy energy.”

He mentioned that economists while devising price points and expenditures, should not treat the task as science but delve deeply into the human psyche as science has no scope of magic but psychology does.

He said that marketing and advertising should be treated as a source of value addition than just another expenditure. “Marketing doesn’t create value for a brand, it adds the pixie dust that adds value to your products,” Rory said.

Rory concluded his talk by emphasising that to optimise any brand or campaign to the maximum level, one will have to abandon the conventional logic and trust more on human instincts and behavioural parameters.

Zee Melt is a two-day conference for disruptive marketing and communication experts happening in Mumbai from 30 May to 31 May.

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