Monday, April 28th, 2008
According to research conducted by two Princeton economists, two heads are better than one. Experiments were conducted between groups and individuals solving the same problems. They found groups outperformed the individuals. Groups were also not any slower in solving the problems.
Janus is the name of a Roman God with two heads. It is also the name of a two-headed turtle that lives at the Geneva Natural History Museum. The fascinating fact is that Janus’ two heads work together.
John Morgan, assistant professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton said. “Our results suggest that even in complex environments, groups are not paralyzed by indecision. Moreover, groups use the data they have on hand to make timely — and better — decisions.”
A professor at Northwestern University challenged an engineering class to tell him how a cat is like a refrigerator. Panic ensued as the engineers froze. Then the professor had the students get into groups of three. Remarkably, the minds began to thaw. The results: “They purr.” “They smell.” “They are hard to get rid of.”
In approaching creativity in marketing, groups are essential. And the more diverse the better.
Mix it up.
What could a mechanic, a lawyer, a database expert, homeowner, graphic designer, salesman, contractor, internet geek, and psychologist have in common? Together, they make up a team created to understand how homeowners look for, interact with, and purchase new home appliances. Individually, each brings an area of expertise. As a team they define an experience.
Groups in marketing are the best way to find simple ideas that make a huge difference in a consumer experience. When the consumer experience is well defined and filled with relevant insights, the marketing is also more relevant. And better equipped to impact the bottom line.
In mythology, Janus symbolized change and transition – being able to see into the past and ahead to the future. In business, putting more heads together will not foretell the future, but two heads are still better than one.
Tags: consumer experience, creativity, marketing
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Monday, January 21st, 2008
For the past seven years, The New York Times Magazine has published the “Annual Year in Ideas” to highlight some of the most interesting ideas, perspectives and innovations from different disciplines during the year.
One entry was particularly telling and relevant to marketing. “Two-Birds-With-One-Stone Resistance.” Psychologist Ayelet Fishback of the University of Chicago conducted an experiment that showed connecting one tool or method to multiple goals weakens the mental association between the tool and any one goal.
In one study, participants were informed that jogging both strengthens muscles and increases the body’s level of oxygen. When researchers reinforced the idea of strengthening muscles, participants illogically decided that jogging was less effective for boosting oxygen.
In another study, test group participants were shown a pen and told about its dual function as a laser pointer. Later, they joined a control group to complete a short form and were given the choice of the laser pen or a conventional pen. Of the participants in the test group 17% selected the laser pen, in contrast 50% of the control group chose the laser pen.
Knowing that the pen had more than one purpose made the students reluctant to use it. Fishback explains, “Once you associate the pen with another function, that same pen doesn’t come to mind as easily when it comes to writing.”
So, it is not possible to communicate two or more things with equal effectiveness and doing so could be damaging to the message of a campaign.
One Brand. One Voice.
Messages bombard people everyday – watching television and listening to the radio; driving through the city and driving a shopping cart: reading the newspaper in a kitchen or online; in airports, restaurants, movie theatres, malls, and at ballgames; through text messaging, e-mail blasts and sky writing. It’s a wonder that any messages get through at all. That’s why the messages that are the most successful are the ones that are simple, clear and single focused.
Bill Bernbach founded DDB Advertising in New York in 1949. He said, “Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message.”
It may be tempting to try to kill two birds with one stone, but as research shows it just doesn’t work. In fact, it could confuse consumers into selecting the competition, because they can’t remember your brand, your voice, or your message.
Tags: advertising focus, brand development, brand strategy, innovation, marketing
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