system two

system two
start-up thinking in the enterprise

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Planners and "changing behaviours"....



Whenever I come across "planners" trying to "get inside the mind of the consumer" or "change behaviour" I wince. Exhibit A above - an ice cream brand trying to make us smile...

Closed off, over educated egos, all with the same bizarrely aggrandized sense of self worth pulling "insights" out of thin air, whilst claiming to have some sort of god like insight into the minds of other men - horrible.

Childish, ignorant, stupid.

The whole of concept of planning when taken to this level - where 60 second ads are elevated to works of science, in the dark science of human manipulation - is truly pathetic.

It shows a colossal ignorance of the human mind - and amongst other thing - no awareness whatsoever of the last 100 years of human psychology and behavioral investigation. I suspect even Freud - the least human of all the mind men - would look with some disdain at the pompous, nonsense that passes for "thinking" from most planning departments.

Students of humanistic psychotherapy learn very quickly that to predict or preempt another persons feelings of behaviours is a cataclysmic mistake. The very basis of psychological distress. Thinking we know someone else better than they, and articulating this, in however a subtle, or round about way, is the surest way to alienate and ruin people

Exhibit b - our current insane western culture which places value at the polar opposite of what is likely to make us humans happy.

In psychotheraputic terms, every time a planner has an "insight" is imposing a "condition of worth" - their own standards, their own outlook, their own view (which if it were perfectly alighted to all the people on whom we are imposing them - would be fine) - but which of course, more often than not, simply jars with the majority of the people who come into contact with that communication and makes them less happy - less likely to engage with the brand.

Making me smile into an upside down Microsoft surface doesn't make me happier. If that smile isn't genuine - then all you've done is take another small chunk out of my sense of self.

Most human beings, in their core, simply can't believe 99% of what passes for a marketing message. That car / razor blade / smart phone / perfume can't make us more attractive to the opposite (/ same sex). At a fundamental level we know this. We've stood at the bar alone - we know the reality of our sexual attractiveness.

When an advertiser tells us differently we are being pushed to accept something we don't believe.

Its wrong. Wrong because it makes the world a less happy place - but also wrong because when you analyse the truly great brands - you realise that they've very rarely participated in this form of abuse.

Forget "getting inside the mind of the consumer" - forget being "the voice of the consumer" - focus instead on true marketing - making your product brilliant - and then openly and honestly talking about that product with the people who care about it.

That is the way you build great, big, f**k off brands - brands which truly mean something to people. Brands which contribute.