Human see. Human do.

I attended a great breakfast this morning hosted by APG Australia (Account Planning Group) to listen to Consumer Psychologist, Mark Earls.  It was on my favourite subject – how people make decisions with their emotional brain moreso than their rational brain.  Mark presented some interesting thinking on how people behave, highlighting how people tend to follow what the other people around them are doing. Using some examples of herd behaviour, he referenced the London riots, public health campaigns and movies from popular culture (the restaurant scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ is a surprising example of how people want to imitate others’ behaviour, and happens to be the inspiration for the name of Mark’s new book, “I’ll have what she’s having”).

I look forward to settling in to read Mark’s book and giving a full review, but here were the three takeouts I felt were tweet-worthy;

Humans see. Humans do. More than any other animal, we reference and imitate others. It’s faster, and (as supported by Jonah Lehrer in ‘How we Decide’) a more effective way to make decisions.

Behaviour changes first, attitudes follow.  Mostly we make decisions, then post-rationalise them to ourselves. This is something Adam Ferrier of recommends to change brand performance. For example, ask people to do something little for charitable purposes, then ask them to donate money later.

You use the brains of others to make decisions.  Society is full of infinite choice.  In many categories, it’s much easier to go with the social norm rather than use your independent judgement.  The way you devise communications messages should be cognisant of the social vs independent choice decision making process.

Thanks to @HERDmeister (follow Mark!), @APGAustralia and Danielle Norrish for organising.


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