“In a world where everyone is one click away from being a self-declared expert, learning to think differently is more important than ever.” (Bhargava, Non-Obvious 2019)Speaking at the 2019 Financial Brand Forum in Las Vegas, NV, Rohit Bhargava was quick to note he has never been the person others would consider a creative. But his experiences working with creative people have taught him the value of being able to see and understand what others may not.
Now Bhargava strives to be what he refers to as a “speed understander” (crediting Isaac Asimov). A “speed understander,” like a speed reader, is someone who can assimilate data quickly. However, the data collected is the intersection of behaviors that create and drive consumer and business trends rather than words and ideas that make up a sentence, paragraph, or page.
Bhargava has trained himself to become a speed understander, and he believes others can utilize his skills to benefit their business and consumer outreach. Here are the three barriers to marketing and advertising Bhargava has seen and some tips to overcoming them.
Our brains are designed to make snap judgments based on prior experience, knowledge, and feelings. Many of these quick decisions are informed by general assumptions.
For instance, it is common knowledge that older people are bad with technology. However, over 50% of US adults aged 50-64 use Facebook. Over 30% of 65+ also have accounts. “Nearly two-thirds of those age 65 and older go online, and a record share own smartphones,” according to Pew Research Center.
If we did not question the “common knowledge” assumption of senior technology usage, we would never consider it possible to reach a large portion of older adults on social platforms, text messaging, or email.
When you think something might be an assumption, do your research to see if it is true.
You’ve heard the term “the internet of things.” It’s true because a person can find pretty much anything online. Whether you are looking for a hamster wheel for cats (aka cat wheels), a device to ween you off your smartphone (the NoPhone), or someone to wait in line for you, it is almost guaranteed you can find a solution online. It’s distracting. It teaches people to expect the impossible.
Pay attention to what your target audience is sharing and how they are sharing it. Then build your campaigns and outreach from that knowledge.
The Believability Crisis
Marketing and advertising today if full of claims that, while not necessarily false, cannot be substantiated. Bhargava points out Cocoa Krispies bills itself as “all natural.” Bottled waters insinuate they are sourced from natural streams or ice melts. The general assumption for many consumers is not to trust advertising. Instead, they believe their peers.
Keep an eye on your target demographics to see what drives their enthusiasm. Then engage with your audience beyond advertising to create human interactions, experiences, and stories they can share.
The digital age has introduced an overwhelming amount of change and a new dynamic between businesses and consumers. As this change continues, it is essential to keep an eye on trends and behaviors to continue to maintain trust and relevancy with your target audience. Spotting the “Non-Obvious” is becoming more critical than ever.