Thanks and festive greetings to everyone who has read, commented, shared in 2014.
See you after the break for more self-delusion, confabulation and vitriol.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
A wish that 2015 is the year when all of us in the business of marketing communications – of all flavours – fall from our Dunning-Kruger peak, and recognise that while we have some skills and influence, what we don’t know about human behaviour is so much more than what we do know, and no amount of lemon juice flavour kool-aid can hide this.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I don't normally do these 'lifehack' kind of posts, and there's no danger of this turning into any kind of self-help blog.
[On occasions when I've had to talk to students and suchlike I'm inclined to respond to career advice type questions with something along the lines of 'See what I did? Don't do that'.]
The items above are ones that I carry with me for any pitch, presentation or client meeting in which I may have to show stuff on a screen.
A mini dv mac to HDMI adaptor.
When turning up at your meeting you may have to plug in to a massive TV and these days the regular PC in slot is starting to become less common.
A mini dv mac to PC adaptor.
This will be pretty familiar, you usually have to plug in to some PC contraption.
[Note: I'm fond of the Guy Kawasaki 10-20-30 rule.
10 slides, and a minimum of 30pt font.
The 20 stands for 20 minutes (this is how long you should expect to talk for in a one hour pitch or meeting).
This allows you 40 minutes to answer questions etc (expect to use about 20mins).
Guy also recommends reserving the other 20mins to set your presentation up while having to navigate the Microsoft operating system.]
Your mac remote control.
Never trust the fangled space age looking PC remotes that may be provided.
A remote is essential to allow for maximum pacing up and down, pontificating and strolling menacingly round the back of your audience like Robert DeNiro in the Untouchables.
Portable bluetooth speaker.
I've been caught out by no audio equipment too many times.
In a small boardroom type meeting you can simply whip out your speaker and place it in the middle of the table and play your videos or audio.
While there is no substitute for knowing your material inside out (this will get you through any tech problems better than any gadget) being prepared makes you at least look like you know what you are doing - a lot of the time this is half the battle.
Monday, November 24, 2014
If problems are revealed for everyone to see, I will feel reassured.
(The principal skill of many of these strategists being the ability to 'find the data' that promotes their particular case and specialism.)
Monday, November 17, 2014
It's worth noting - with some irony - that many of those commentators who demand this of 'brand authenticity' are among the worst bullshit offenders.
Returning to Frankfurt's text briefly...
Have a nice day.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
The brain is a physical system.
It functions in ways not dis-similar to a computer.
The brain itself is like the hardware, the mind is like software or apps, perhaps.
Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate the environmental circumstances in which it needs to function.
This means that all of our thoughts, hopes, dreams and feelings are simply the product of chemical reactions going on in our heads.
In this sense there is no 'self'.
(While evolutionary psychologists are generally the most vocal opponents of anything that smells of religion, it's curious how much of the theory corresponds with the same ideas in buddhism, for example.
Although buddhism is not strictly a religion, of course.)
The circuits of the brain, firing together, are designed to generate different kinds of motion.
This is what we would call behaviour, and it happens in response to information from the environment.
Now we've got that out of the way it's interesting to note how many behaviours we share with other species.
This particular example that I found in an uncredited EP primer reminded me of some people I've encountered in the advertising agency and marketing world.
So it eats (resorbs) most of its brain.'
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Monday, November 03, 2014
The article that follows first appeared on the Australian media and marketing website Mumbrella on October 30th. This is the slightly longer version of the published piece.
Not the ‘ethics and values’ place that it’s ended up (for many so-called cultural or conscious capitalism examples).
And, if anything, ‘purpose’ now feels even more esoteric than the b-word was in the first place.
Now you can feel like a do-gooder and still consume.
[Note: Reid/McLarens 'never trust a hippy' was a thinly veiled jibe directed at Richard Branson, who's current space tourism product is just about the ultimate positional good, this week's 'setback' notwithstanding.]
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Regular readers will know that many years ago I worked in a record shop.
And on occasion I've recounted a tale or two about how I learned a bit about marketing and selling on the job.
I never knew the theory in those days, just the practice.
We were a small indie and our range was smaller than the big chains.
There was a lot of top 40 type material that we would have struggled to sell.
We were in a different partition, if you like.
At certain times of year however, we had a bit of an opportunity to sell some stuff that the chains would normally clean up on.
Christmas, for example.
There was a certain type of buyer, and there were lots of them, who were very light category buyers.
They only bought music once a year, sometimes even less.
The 'Christmas number one' was what they bought.
Whichever song was number one in the charts at Christmas.
So we made sure we had a shed load racked out at the till point, so the once a year category buyer could walk straight up, get their CD and get off.
I soon learned not to even try and upsell because they didn't know or want anything else.
The book business is similar, I would imagine.
There's still lots of volume to be had from light category buyers - especially in the bricks and mortar stores.
Even among those who we could call 'buyers of the category' many buy less than one book a year.
And that one book might be the year's blockbuster. The book equivalent of the Christmas number one. Fifty Shades was probably one of those.
Today the local Tasmanian newspapers ran four or five pages on the spectacular success of local author Richard Flanagan winner of the 2014 Man Booker for The Narrow Road to the Deep North a story about Australian soldiers on the Burma Railway.
Only the fourth Aussie author to win the prize, and the first from Tasmania.
I'm not a novel reader, to be fair, I like factual stuff and biographies.
My wife is though.
Because there's a local connection to where I am working, I nipped over to the main city centre bookshop at lunchtime today to pick up a copy for her, before I go to the airport to go home.
They were sold out.
I was also told that they had only a few in stock at the beginning of the week.
'It has been out for a year, after all'.
Ever curious, I hung around for 20 minutes as dozens of light category buyers - and some so light they could likely be classified as non-buyers - filed in for the one book of the year (or decade) they were ever going to buy.
It was was out of stock.
No doubt this has been going on all day.
All day hundreds of shoppers have walked in and out with $30 still in their pocket.
They buy books so infrequently they don't even know what they should expect to pay.
All those books could have been sold at full whack.
It will be back in on Tuesday, though.
By that time the one book a year buyers will get someone to order it online and they will have it delivered by Tuesday (this is Australia. It takes about a week to come from the US or Europe).
Or most likely forgotten about it.
They could have got a pallette load on consignment from the publishers, just in case.
Or a big poster in the window letting people know when it will be restocked and taking orders as a damage limitation tactic.
Have an empty table in the shop where the book would have been. Making it look scarce and popular.
It was on the shortlist.
They had one chance.
And the bookstore will complain about Amazon, killing their business.
They are doing a good job on their own.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Kahneman and Gigerenzer have clashed many times over the years with regard to their individual points of view on intuitive heuristics.
Why they are at each others throats is slightly puzzling to this reader, as they are both saying the same thing, for the most part.
When confronted with a problem that requires some degree of thinking, and where there is at least partial ignorance (ie just about everything) - some examples often cited are; choosing a chess move or deciding whether to invest in stock — decisions are governed mostly by intuitive thought, and the intuitive mind does the best it can with whatever information it can use.
In Gigerenzer's writing he identifies a number of smart heuristics - 'take the best' and 'recognition validity' are two.
Similarly, Kahneman would say that if the individual has at least some relevant 'expertise', she will recognise a solution, and that this intuitive solution that comes to mind is quite often correct.
But what happens when the question is more difficult and a 'skilled' solution or smart heuristic is not available?
DK would say that we instead answer an easier and related question, automatically and usually without noticing the substitution.
Indeed, attribute substitution is thought to underpin a number of cognitive biases and perceptual illusions, something GG and DK can agree upon, and is part of a larger set of shortcuts that form the effort-reduction framework as proposed by Shah and Oppenheimer, which states that people use a variety of techniques in order to reduce the mental effort of making decisions.
So, an easier question to answer might be one that allows us to simply look at our previous behaviour. If that feels related to the problem at hand we then feel reasonably happy proceed in-line with what we have previously done.
Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable thing, of course.
We want our attitudes to be in line with our behaviours.
Whilst we might believe that we are not the sort of person who drinks and drives, once a couple of beers have gone down and we have to get home we soon change our minds.
The behaviour has been done so that's impossible to change, so of course we want our attitude to be consistent and tell ourselves a story to rationalise it. It's just easier to do this.
I've done some of my own research that seems to indicate that despite having more access to information than at any point in history in order to do proper evaluation of alternatives in choice situations, we simply cannot be arsed and will use all manner of effort reduction strategies to dramatically simplify and limit consideration sets.
Especially, as it would appear from our studies, in categories such as insurance; where making the wrong choice could have pretty serious consequences. Yet the vast majority of buyers are happy to buy from an existing FS provider, or if they do switch; then the brands with biggest share of market and share of voice tend to pick up most of the switchers and new to market buyers.
So, for example, if the difficult question (or computationally complex attribute) asked is “Should Scotland be an independent country?”.
The reality is that for many voters perhaps an easier to calculate heuristic attribute might be “Am I already deeply invested in a pseudo-religious and political sectarian Unionist or Republican 'philosophy', (imported from somewhere else) and based on my allegiance to a particular Glasgow based football club?”
Despite the fluffy rhetoric about a nation engaged in a new passion for political discourse, debate and democracy, we fear that this description does not account for all of the voting public.
But for a number of the reported 1.4million Scots who are R*ngers supporters this will almost certainly be the case. Numbers for C*ltic are unavailable, recognition validity indicates they will be similar, though...
Whether those numbers are enough to have made a significant impact on the final poll we will never know. Perhaps they cancelled each other out, in which case an engaged minority held the balance.
What was clearly visible were the ugly scenes of from George Square last week.
Far from any intellectual jousting of political and national ideologies the scene resembled more closely the famous 1980 Scottish Cup Final. A sorry affair in which a narrow one-nil victory for the green half of the great unwashed resulted in a pitch invasion from the blue side, a mass bricks and bottles battle between thousands, and TV commentator Archie MacPherson prompted to remark 'its like a scene from Apocalypse Now'.
The Unionists won the vote, of course. Goodness knows what might have happened had they lost.