#likeminds - Robin Wight says the future's bright, the future's social

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

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How do you fuse the best of the old media and the best of the new? A communication coalition, if you will.

Brands only exist because they help consumers make buying decisions without too much brainpower. The are useful, so they work. The brain runs on a cognitive miser system, it uses more energy per ounce than any other part of your body. It wants to be spending that energy on things like who to fall in love with…

At some stage the brain needs more help than a TV ad can help with. That’s where new media starts to come it. And that’s fine until the biggest problem of marketing – once the brain has made up its mind, it doesn’t like changing it… Learning something is much more energy expensive than practiced behaviour. Cognitive dissonance – anything that doesn’t fit in to our existing belief system is reprocessed until it does.

The famous yuppie car ad?

People reprocessed it so that 2/3 didn’t think he drove a BMW – the car targeted.

The mouse can be a game changer – by managing a flow of pages on a website, the brain might start changing its mind. We’re researching that now, says White. People have found that being attacked online reprogrammed them – but you can retaliate by engaging. Virals are almost old media now – they’re a hybrid of both.

This was spread at no cost to the advertiser, rewatched to check for cheating, and cut road deaths in London. Win.

Marketing is moving from telling people where to go, to coming along with them on the journey.

But – we’ve always been social. Robin Dunbar – the larger the group around you, the better your chance of survival, if you’re an ape.  Evolutionary speaking, Facebook is grooming. We have the evolution of mobile grooming; “scratching each other’s back” – endorphins are released, and the system responds to low level repetitive actions. Joggers are addicted to those endorphins. From brain size, you can predict an animal’s social grooming group; 150 for humans.  Villages were around 150 people, but in cities our groups shrank to 25. Technology responded, first with soap operas for virtual friends, and then mobile phones and Facebook for real ones.

What’s Mine is Yours – an amazing book. The Big New Idea: collaborative consumption. It’s going to transform our lives. The Big Society is as much about Collaborative consumption as volunteering. iamcreative.org.uk – aimed at 16 to 19 years old, gathering ideas, paid for by Nokia. Like between schools, business and mentors.

If you’re a creative person, and you’re not doing creative mentoring, it’s going to look pretty bad on your CV…

View his presentation

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.