Essential Behavioral Science Lessons for a Complex Marketing World by Dan Young, Chief Behavioural Scientist, Hotspex


Live note taking at the #MRIA2017 conference in Toronto. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

  • System 1 and System 2 processes are different. System 1 is intuition, feeling, action. System 2 is thinking, deciding and action. Both are always active.
  • Model used to be think, do, feel.
  • Reality is feel, act, think.
  • We can give reasonable and logical answers if you ask, we believe these answers are true.
  • Learning to drive is system 2. Over time, parts of learning to drive go into system 1. Most is automatic. You do it even when you’re listening to the radio and talking to your passenger. You still made thousands of decisions over the ride, they’re done on autopilot. However, if you’re in rainstorm, you tell people to shut up and you’re back to system 2 processing.
  • Emotions drive perceptions, thinking, and behaviour.
  • If it feels right, you do it. If it doesn’t feel right, you don’t do it. It doens’t feel right so you think about it.
  • What people tell you they do doesn’t have a lot to do with what they actually do.
  • People don’t realize something is difficult because they’ve accommodated for it, and they don’t remember that it was difficult to do.
  • Know what to say versus what to convey. Talk about happy healthy babies, not saving time by using disposable diapers. It gets processed at the wrong level – diapers mean lazy mom.
  • Michelin tires – pair a babies safety with tires. “Show babies in your tires.” Tires are a safety point. Link it tothe safety of your family. The Michelin man  has big eyes like a baby’s, he’s soft and cuddly, he links to love and care which gets associated with your brand.
  • Dawn dish detergent is gentle enough to clean a baby duck. Now you halo love and caring, effectiveness onto the brand. An emotional connection of sensitivity. 
  • Coca-cola uses cute polar bears. You can’t say everything with humans but you can animate those things. Moms can’t hand a coke to their babies but a polar bear can.
  • Dove ad campaign with different sized women – real beauty is more than skin deep. It almost doubled their business. Can project yourself in an ad, all women are attractive even though they all have different shapes and sizes. Extend campaign to bottle shapes. Why did this go off the rails?  [mrs butterworths is my bottle shape. LOL!]  The bottle was system 2 but the estate was system 1. 
  • Special K is consciously known for skinny and healthy, but system 1 research says it’s actually known for social pressure and insecure, You don’t eat this cereal to feel better about yourself. They need a different strategy. They need to celebrate inner strength. Talk about you being great as you are. Become a better version of you. The new strategy is “dont just eat it, own it.”
  • Need to focus on the positive. Tap into underlying feelings in a positive and acceptable way.
  • Say and convey requires consistency, context, and change. 
  • Every brand manager wants to make a mark on their brand. But consumers want consistency. Consumers want to feel familiar, like you’re family. 
  • Lego is just bricks but now it’s all about kits. Took simple idea and stayed true to it even across games and movies. The Lego movie shows Lego characters moving like Lego people actually move. It is consistent. 
  • Is there such a thing as a blind test? Everything has context no matter how much you try to remove it. 
  • Dirty washing clean _______
  • Spoon bowl chicken ________
  • You will say soap or soup depending on which list of words you saw. Everything has unconscious experiences pushing it. 
  • The world is always changing and brands need to evolve. But you need to understand what brands stands for at conscious and unconscious level. We need to tap into explicit AND implicit measurements. 
  • Virgin records went from records to airlines becuase the label is about style and vibe. You have to understand your core equity and maintain it.
  • Oprah went from TV shows to magazines because they considered her equity. 
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