When fine print becomes fiction

What if we are conditioned to believe that we can’t have it all? That there is a trade-off, a catch, a proverbially price to be paid. That if something is too good to be true, then it must be?
And what if this has manifested itself into a cognitive bias where some individuals are actively looking for the fine print, for the catch but they don’t stop even when there is evidence to indicate it does not exist.
This need to find the fine print, find the scam makes them ripe for conspiracy theories and false narratives. Because they want to find some reason to believe it’s too good to be true. It is primarily a trust deficit but one that is actively seeking out rationale and when it can’t find any, it fabricates or appropriates it by readily believing information with limited or no factual evidence.
Though there is need for research to even see if this is true and to understand why some people are more inclined to believe conspiracy theories. I do have some hypotheses on who is inclined to suffer from this bias the most.
It seems on initial viewing that disgruntled middle class and lower middle class individuals are the most prone to this. Individuals for whom errors are expensive because they don’t have much of a cushion for failure and hence tend to be risk adverse. There also seems to be a popular narrative of being cheated and are constantly on the lookout for scams. This is not dependent on political viewpoints though conservatives are inclined to blame the cheating on low income individuals whereas liberals are inclined to blame corporations and the so called 1%.
Like I said more research and testing is required.

What can you do to ensure the integrity of your online media spends??

ICYMI – According to Whiteops: Methbot a Russian run ad scam has made over USD $3-5 million per DAY over the past month amounting to over $200M in fraudulent ad revenue by tricking algorithms and mimicking legitimate US web traffic. Though this is an expensive and temporary hiccup (some advertisers who have identified the fraud traffic have gotten their money back), it is one that has gotten the attention of the big players and will hopefully lead to a stronger online ad bidding system with greater transparency and increased efficiency. That said, one of the key takeaways for me is the over reliance on automation and the lack of relationship based selling in the ad space. There will always be imposters when the transactions are automated and the players are not vetted. Not to mention that automation is an oft used reason to explain away poor due diligence.

Social Media is shrinking the marketplace.. and thats a good thing!

Everyone’s Opinionated and now opinions matter.

Small Business owners have always known that knowing your customer is the secret to success because they have operated in a small area where word of mouth is prevalent and a big influence on how your brand is perceived by prospective customers.

In this smaller more connected world the market dynamics are changing and no longer can corporations hide behind their size and claim ignorance to the woes of their customers. Customers can amplify their grouses and other perspective customers are always listening, always reviewing companies before they purchase, before they decide to go to a restaurant or buy a product or engage a service they want to know other peoples experiences and now they have a forum (the world wide web) to go and get that information.

Everyone says technology is making the world smaller and it is. It’s making the marketplace smaller too and the rules / best practices of doing business in a smaller marketplace with an extremely connected consumer base (as in a small town or city) are good practices that are playing a greater role today.

 

An eye for an eye

This might not come as news to many of you but for me it’s been an epiphany.

There is the school of thought that argues fight fire with fire, be tough and get results. The more i see the probelms of this world the more i am convinced that this is a flawed logic.

The war on drugs – Being tough or brutal with drug traffickers has only led to tougher and more brutal drug traffickers.

The war on extremist ideals – The harsher the world got with extremists the harsher the extremists got.

It is naive to think that people will not fight back. They will.

It is even more naive to think that you have superior fire power or smarter soldiers who will win you the war. There is no superior warrior race.. every empire has crumbled. The only solution I see is inclusiveness and adaptability.

Repetitive Journalism

The collective conscience can be a powerful tool. But what happens when we use it all for the same purpose. The beauty of diversity is in multiple narratives, from that trial by fire emerges the best idea, the best narrative, the most compelling change agent.

Repetitive Journalism or the simple act of sharing the same thing that others have shared takes over the collective consciousness and leaves very little room for other news stories.

When one story gets shared so many times that it drowns out all other stories and takes over the days news narrative.

We really need to think before we share. It’s drowning out everything else because as a result of promoting the most trending (entertaining) story other Important bits of news are not registered and pass their news cycle lifetime.

Using science for marketing goals.

Image Courtesy - BBC
Image Courtesy – BBC

Ever seen a person act irrationally. Well there might be a simple age old answer to that.. behavioral bias.

Marketers can take advantage of a hardwired ancient bias in all human beings. Which for one associates a great weight on losses versus gains. Ever wondered why fear is a greater sales agent than happiness, wonder no more.

Ever wondered why we prefer half a gift right now rather than one tomorrow but if offered the same gift in the future with a one day delay for half vs full gift we prefer to wait the extra day in the future. Defies logic doesn’t it.

The evolutionary answer would point towards the fact that mistakes could easily lead to death in prehistoric times (before we had a written history that might assist in remedying mistakes) and hence our minds are hard wired and allocate a greater importance to errors as a survival mechanism.

Why we do what we do and why it doesn’t always make sense!

Our hard-wired ancient behavioral biases make us act in irrational ways but once understood they can be used to influence decision making. E.g. Losses have a greater impact on our decision making than gains. To quantify it we need twice as much of a gain to offset half as much of a loss. This is a relic of the fact that in prehistoric times, mistakes could easily lead to death and hence our minds have been evolutionarily coded to allocate a greater emphasis on remembering mistakes and avoiding them in our decision making. For marketers that translates as fear is a greater sales agent than happiness.

Want to know how to influence people. Simply put, understand and use their biases to influence their decision making..
We all have ancient hardwired biases that irrationally influence our decision making and when used tactfully can lead to desired results. E.g. As an evolutionary mechanism our brains allocate a great weight or emphasis to losses versus gains, because in prehistoric times mistakes could easily lead to death, hence our minds have evolved to remember the mistakes as a survival technique i.e. fear is a more compelling sales agent than happiness.
To understand in greater depth the root of such bias, how it makes us act irrationally and how deeply imbedded into our minds these bias are click on the image to read other fun facts and even take a few tests that will shed light on the burgeoning field of behavioral economics.

Advergaming evolves to Travergaming

We’re all familiar with product placements in Movies and Sitcoms. Enter the new kid on the block Advergaming where Advertising meets Gaming or Gamification as the industry calls it.

With the ascent of Web 2.0 and the social gaming realm this was to be expected.

Advergaming meets Travel = Travergaming

Not too sure about my feelings about this new trend in traveling. As if traveling wasn’t entertainment enough we need to make a game out of it?

But i do like the fact that exploring can be made into a game and hence we might have more people going off the beaten path and that means the mcdonald-ization of the world might slow down a wee bit.

Click here to read an article that talks about travel and gaming

From making Logos bigger to hiding them all together

How many times have we heard clients scream these words.. always hoping that some day they’ll understand that having the logo bigger doesn’t mean you’ll get noticed.

Soft Marketing or Marketing Sideways.. Is the art of being helpful instead of being pushy, being indirect rather than direct in your persuasion. Good sales people have always known the benefits of soft selling (you catch more with honey…). Native Content Marketing is soft selling for the marketing realm where for too long clients have insisted “make my logo bigger”, well that’s never convinced anyone to buy or try a product/service and the shift towards content marketing (where it’s about helping vs selling) where seeming unbiased is crucial, is proof of it.

Click here to see some of the best content marketing work of 2016

See more on your trips – Pole Pole (swahili for do it slowly)

We’ve made a few mis-steps in our long journey of progress as human beings, as is natural, whats important is that we recognize and amend our ways so that moving forward we can say we learnt from our mistakes.

We’ve come to realize that eating quickly and certain foods has led to heightened cases of diabetes, heart disease, obesity etc. and we’re correcting our ways by moving towards a more slow and healthy eating mentality.

Well I propose another change another mis-step that we’ve been making in the name of convenience but haven’t been aware of yet. It’s the mis-step of Fast Travel. When we get on a plane in San Francisco and disembark in Nairobi. We enter a door on one continent and walk through it on another. Not knowing the lands we’ve passed, the cultures we’ve flown over, the costumes we’ve not seen, the songs we’ve not heard. And this is a loss that takes away from the joy of travel: for the joy of travel is the joy of learning a new culture.

How can we say we know a land when we do not know what surrounds it, or a people when we don’t see how they are similar to and slightly different from those around them.

Neighboring Countries are like cousins, closer than you might think and just a little different to make them unique. If one travels from India to Europe you will see the gradual change in the clothing, in the food, in the language, in the dances. It all changes gradually not suddenly, like a brush stroke going from one hue of pink to another to another before it becomes red and then onwards to another color.

An understanding of this gradual slow change, gives us a greater insight into the ways of the people or countries along the way.

When we traveled by sea/land we saw this slow change and we slowly changed with it too. It gradually got warmer, or colder, or greener or sparser. We adjusted, acclimatized, sensitized.

We learnt how similar things are and how they’re different cause we had a deeper understanding than is possible from entering into one end and coming out another without ever seeing the mountain we just passed under.

This is crucial to seeing the world as one which is full of small variances as opposed to one which is full of starkly different cultures and people.