Social Media and Perception- Insights from an Ad Man

Social Media and Perception- Insights from an Ad Man

social media and perception

Rory Sutherland, an advertising man for the global advertising house Oglivy, delivered a pretty insightful speech at a Ted Talk back in 2009.   I find it is particularly appealing as it hits home on the importance of social media and perception. Sutherland, the Oglivy Group Vice Chairman, gives great insight into how we perceive things and how it affects human behavior. He insinuates how social media capitalizes on this.

Sutherland talks about how marketers/advertisers actually have "fundamental opportunities to change human behavior."

Social media is the ideal tool to enable that change. It allows us to change the way we market our products or services.  It's no logner about shouting your message at people. Your brand can create a lifestyle, a community on social media.

It no longer has to be about buying something, but rather about being a part of something. Something bigger. A niche group of people who all enjoy the same things. That in turn makes people loyal, connected and interested in your brand and ultimately your product or service.

This instantly reminded me of an interesting tactic Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, implemented right before the holiday season. Chouinard, 74, actually encouraged people to consume less things, including Patagonia products. HubSpot's Dan Lyons makes a pretty good point as to why this is genius marketing.

What Sutherland hits home, is the ways in which social media and perception go hand in hand to appealing to the basic qualities of human nature. Sharing small news in tweets or Facebook updates gives "badge value to little trivial activities." Social media is ultimately increasing enjoyment by creating a space for  people all over the world to connect and have conversations.

By having conversations and communicating about the things that matter to us, we find that we start to enjoy that fundamental thing we all long for, connection. We start to subconsciously realize how important connection is. Ideally, soon we will start to realize how that is much more important than consuming material objects.

Want your brand to stand out on social media? Recognize and embrace that.

What do you take away from Sutherland's talk?

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Going forward we need more of this kind of value.  We need actually to spend more time appreciating what already exists and less time agonizing over what else we can do." Click to Tweet

"Two very fundamental things, first one, all value is relative...All value is subjective. Second point is persuasion is often better than compulsion." Click to Tweet

"In terms of dress, denim is perhaps the perfect example of something that replaces material value with symbolic value...It's worth remembering Andy Warhol's point about coke, where what Warhol said about coke is that 'What I really like about Coca Cola is that the President of the United States can't get a better Coke than the bum on the corner of the street.' ...It's actually a remarkable achievement to produce something that's that democratic." Click to Tweet

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