Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Adnan Arnautlija
Croatia’s national festival of creativity, the Days of Communication (28-31 March 2019, Rovinj) is coming closer, and the organizers this year announced a truly impressive roster of speakers, with some of the most impressive names of the industry globally.
One of them is Mark Earls aka HERDmeister, a behavioural marketing expert and a multi-award winning author of bestsellers such as HERD – How to Change Mass Behaviour, I’ll Have What She’s Having – Mapping Social Behaviour, Welcome to the Creative Age and others.
At this year’s Days of Communication, HERDmeister will give a lecture titled #CopyCopyCopy, in which he explains how copying, not originality, has long been at the heart of creativity and problem solving.
We talked with this extremely interesting behavioural expert to find out more about what affects human behaviour and how brands should properly leverage copying towards business success.
Media Marketing: We all love to think of ourselves as individuals, with singularly unique opinions that are absolutely our own. How wrong are we?
Mark Earls: VERY! Our minds seem particularly good at creating this illusion. There’s a scene in the Monty Python movie Life of Brian when the hero Brian opens his bedroom window to find a crowd yelling his name. “Tell us what to do, they say”. He replies “you don’t need anyone telling you what to do – you’re all individuals”. “We’re all individuals” the crowd shouts back (apart from one guy at the front who confusingly says “I’m not (an individual)”. We’re a social creature whose success depends on others – both around us and before us. Our ability to “outsource the cognitive load” is a killer app for humankind: we use the brains, know-how and handiwork of others to make our decisions for us.
Media Marketing: Is the advantage of copying recognised in efficient business strategies and how does this reconcile with creativity?
Mark Earls: In some ways it’s misused: “benchmarking” is twisted by consultants into a means to force every business to look the same but beyond that it’s only loosely used. We still pretend that every problem is unique and every solution, too. It’s about time we started to think about problems as if other people have already faced and solved them (they will have done, for sure, somewhere). Think about “what kind of problem” you’re trying to solve and who else – in other fields and other contexts might have faced that same kind of problem. That’s where the useful solutions lie. I love the story of Professor Martin Elliott who transferred the knowledge and practical protocols from Formula 1 in to paediatric cardiac surgery to reduce human errors – how unlikely is that?
Media Marketing: In the heart of this approach is data, yet, as you have pointed out in your earlier lectures, people are becoming wary of the amount of data being collected about them. Where do you draw a line, at what point should a brand stop with their personalization for example in order not to spook their target user?
Mark Earls: I have a simple rule of thumb: people don’t want “relationships” with brands: relationships are for people and pets (and maybe places), but not for brands. So stay right away. Once you get this straight, the discussions about personalisation take on a different tone: you stop trying to be people’s best friend.
Media Marketing: One of the growing trends in marketing are AI and chatbots. This is also a form of copying human behaviour. What is your take on these technologies?
Mark Earls: What’s interesting about both these technologies is how they’ve been adopted. Everyone copies everyone else’s excitement of the magic stuff and forgets they are just tools. The question is always what we should do with the tools and how this might help our consumers. Also, there’s a worrying tendency of business to overengineer the use of tech: to use an industrial sledgehammer to crack a nut. Very often, there are lots of things that you can do with the data you already have that people don’t bother with. For example n “I’ll Have What She’s Having” and “Copy Copy Copy”, we show what you can learn about how people choose from a fairly simple analysis of sales data. Let’s do the easy stuff before we try to build a rocket to the moon!
Media Marketing: Your lecture #copycopycopy will explain why copying, rather than originality is at the heart of creativity. Is there a brand you would cite as example of doing this well?
Mark Earls: Apple is everyone’s example of creative excellence so I’ll choose them, too to show how my argument plays out. Very little of what Apple have made has been truly original: famously, they used an existing operating system as their base code, they didn’t invent easy-to-use computer interfaces or easy to connect devices or mobile music or smartphones or downloadable or streaming or social media. At their best they do what other brands have already done, just better, simpler and more beautiful. Much of their advertising has been – like most advertising – a version of what already exists (often pseudo-pornographic food and car photography) Even their famous 1984 blockbuster: this was based on a book and a film,…1984! #CopyCopyCopy doesn’t mean you don’t do great, original stuff – as TS Eliot suggests, it’s what you do with what you copy. Maybe Cannes Lions should create a “best use of other people’s ideas” category?