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The power of human understanding in 21st century marketing
September 30, 2021
It is a cliché to say that over the past 10 years, no aspect of consumers’ lives has remained unchanged by digital technology. As we enter the next decade of digitally-driven marketing new realities are emerging, accelerated by the Covid pandemic.
In this omnichannel world, where consumer experiences are dispersed across an ecosystem of platforms and devices. brands are competing with other experiences for attention. At the same time, consumers are sharing (or generating) more and more data in exchange for more personalised experiences.
Brand experiences are collapsing, customer journeys being compressed, and shorter pathways to purchase – capable of delivering consumers deeper into the sales funnel – emerging.
In this world, the traditional marketing journey becomes problematic. The conventional barrier between front-end, brand-building creativity versus back-end performance optimisation is being undermined. In this new blended world, all media should drive performance.
Many agencies fail to grasp the potential of this new world. Too many are obsessing about shiny technology or the new media formats when they should be focusing their attention – and clients’ budgets – on something much more fundamental: the human.
Advertising stalwart, Dave Trott, gets even closer to the point: “Although the technology changes, basic human beings don’t. Being able to see this allows us to operate at a more fundamental, a more powerful level.”
Or to put it another way: the route to success for today’s brands in a technology-overloaded, media fragmented, and low-attention world is to understand and build strategies around human beings.
Let’s look at the evidence. At the heart of brand’s omnichannel ecosystem, a consumer is gifting their attention to culturally relevant ideas and content that moves them at an emotional level. In the middle of a compressed customer journey is a real person wanting authentic and genuine interaction in ways that inspire and motivate them. Whether that’s in real life or via social media people will want to share great brand experiences or content, bypassing the algorithmic filters and ad blockers.
In short: the fundamentals haven’t really changed.
This can be why agencies fall down in delivering powerfully creative, relevant and value-led campaigns for clients. It’s also the reason why we decided to put deep human understanding at the heart of what we do. It’s why the Human Understanding Lab was created. By putting human understanding at the heart of marketing activations, it enables us to operate at a more fundamental and powerful level with our clients – across marketing, communications and digital and unlocking real business advantage and growth for our clients in the disruptive and fast-moving brand and marketing landscape.
Backed by a 120-strong community of neuro, behavioural and data scientists we are consistently developing innovative ways to provide deep human insight, from fMRI and EEG analysis to nudge frameworks, AI and machine-learning power data science.
All of this comes together in our proprietary insights model: EMMA.
EMMA addresses the four core elements that go into human decision-making and behaviour: Emotion, Motivations and the wider contextual Meaning that impacts our decision-making to drive Action and behavioural change.
In an omnichannel world where brand-building creativity and behaviour-nudging activation happen simultaneously, EMMA enables us to understand the different forces working together subconsciously to shape human behaviour.
It means brands can generate genuinely human-centric insights to empower to achieve powerful emotional connections, tap into the right motivators and drive relevant actions across the increasingly compressed pathways to purchase.
It drives better blended strategies, more impactful creativity, improved performance and optimal outcomes in the current omnichannel world.
Ultimately, it unlocks greater business performance for our clients.
Simon Collister PhD, is Unlimited's Human Understanding Lab Director