Do you Chase the Honey or Fear the Bees? The modern marketer’s dilemma

As we sip on our lattes and furiously flick through flurries of social media content, it’s all too easy to forget that we are still just animals (albeit highly sophisticated ones). As evolutionary psychologists say, “our modern skulls house a stone-age brain”. This is why, for example, we’re more likely to buy beef advertised as “80% lean” than when it’s advertised as “20% fat” – even though they mean the same thing, we are innately more averse to something when presented in risky terms. This hardwired, ‘irrational’ thinking has huge implications for marketers: Not only when it comes to engaging customers, but also in order to encourage their colleagues to embrace innovation.

The fact is, people are not as rational as we would like to believe. And yet so much of the way we market to people and sell innovation ideas to stakeholders ignores this. So – as a senior retail brand marketer, how do you decide whether to invest in new ideas and technologies, or to just stick with what feels safe and familiar? How do you appeal to customers and stakeholders alike when the reality is that most people are risk averse? People are wired to defer to what they know best.

“We are about twice as sensitive to losses as we are to gains” – Patrick Fagan

As my consumer psychology partner Patrick Fagan (author of #Hooked: Why Cute Sells) frames it: “We are about twice as sensitive to losses as we are to gains: you will sell a mug for about twice as much as you’d pay for it. This fear of danger dominating over the prospect of reward has kept us alive as a species: if we were more tempted by the honey than afraid of the bees, we may have died out.”.

So where does our intrinsic conservatism leave us? How can we make the most of innovation opportunities, in an ever-evolving market when our own psychology (and that of our stakeholders and customers) is stacked against change? The answer is that we need to make safe bets and be boldly innovative but guided by scientific principles.

Patrick and I will be exploring these themes at the Retail Recharged Innovation event 2017. We will share some of the most useful psychological insights into why people do what they do and how marketers can create more value through innovation, by refining their understanding of human psychology (not just their own, but also their stakeholders and their customers’).

On the day, we will be sharing some pertinent examples of psychology and brand case-studies that will help attendees navigate three big areas vital to success: Personalisation – how to inspire a direct relationship with customers, Global Expansion – how to enter new global markets and Brand Engagement – how to forge more emotional relationships with customers.

We will also be using attendee feedback survey technology to aggregate your views and experiences live, in order that we can all benefit from each others’ expertise. There will be some hidden psychology experiments woven into the day too, to help us explore the key principles at play.

We hope to see you there! (If our hidden persuaders in this post have worked, we will see you there).

Apply To Attend

Guest Author

Tom Woodnutt

Founder, Feeling Mutual

Patrick Fagan

Consumer Psychologist

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