NABS Tuesday Club Talk series with Rory Sutherland - NABS
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NABS Tuesday Club Talk series with Rory Sutherland

On 16th September, we had the pleasure of welcoming Rory Sutherland, ECD and vice-chairman at OgilvyOne and vice-chairman at Ogilvy and Mather UK, to host the latest in our Tuesday Club Talk series at the Museum of London.

Titled ‘Clouds and Clocks’, Rory’s talk delivered a detailed understanding of how marketers should have a better understanding of the human mind and how it processes the world around us. Using Daniel Kahneman’s theory of ‘System One’ and ‘System Two’, Rory explained the importance of the subconscious when it came to decision making. In essence, Rory felt that we focus on the rational side of the brain too much, ignoring the fact that the instinctive part of the brain effects our decisions too.

You can watch all of Rory’s talk by clicking the image below, which sees the Ogilvy man highlight his points with some brilliantly colourful anecdotes. If you’re short for time, we have also selected a few of Rory’s most interesting points, check them out just under the image.

Some of the best bits:

The power of choice – 0:00:17 – 0:08:14

The options we are given effect the choices that we make more than we realise. Rory stated that we should ‘start with the transaction and then move out’. A bad call to action results in a bad advertisement, regardless of how brilliant it is in its own right.

Test counterintuitive things – 0:09:35 – 0:13:12

Often we can be driven by our own fear of failure, and so we will go along with the norm in order to avoid responsibility for bad outcomes. However, for us to stand out and make a difference, Rory implored us to go against the grain and test counterintuitive things; options that are dismissed as stupid by those content with the norm. In a vintage anecdote, Rory drew on the rise of cider sales in recent years and linked this to the use of ice within the drink. In theory, this may seem like too simple an idea to work and therefore be dismissed out of hand, however the power of the ‘lighthouse effect’ made this simple addition way more effective than first thought.

The ‘elephant’ and the ‘rider’ – 0:32:21 – 0:35:44

In this segment, Rory explains the idea behind Daniel Kahneman’s theory of ‘System One’ and ‘System Two’ brains, taken from Thinking Fast & Slow. Using Johnathan Haidt’s ‘elephant’ and ‘rider’ metaphor to explain the two differing sides of the brain, Rory stated that marketers make the mistake of focusing on the conscious and rational side, rather than the instinctive part of consumers’ brains, which is the true obstacle to purchase. This particular point frames Rory’s talk perfectly, delivering the core idea of what he believes needs to change within the industry as well as the world around us.

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