DDB Australia has released details of its new thinking to create ‘unreasonable growth’ for brands and business.
Unveiled to a dinner attended by B&T at its Sydney office on Thursday night, the thinking is significant because it challenges the long-standing business premise that growth is anchored to a consumer who makes reasonable and logical decisions to advance their lifestyle.
Pioneered by DDB Australia and New Zealand, the thinking is based on the power of unchanging human emotions in a rapidly changing modern world. The central thesis is that we are now, more than ever, living in an “age of unreason”.
“The most urgent conversation in business today is growth. Yet we are living in a low to no growth world,” said DDB Australia’s managing director of strategy and innovation, Leif Stromnes.
“The problem for business today is that we are clinging on to old theories. The old theory that marketing and advertising succeeds because people are reasonable is just not true. In fact, we now know that people are highly unreasonable,” he said.
Stromnes said the evidence of unreasonableness and its centrality to the human condition had been slowly growing prior to this century, however in the last few years the unreasonable snowball has begun to gather momentum.
“Les Binet and Peter Field have done a vast amount of work analysing the world’s largest database of empirical evidence, the IPA Datamine, for how advertising works and arrived at the startling conclusion that fame and feelings work much harder for business than rational persuasion. This corroborates the work of Feldwick and Heath on low involvement processing,” Stromnes said.
“Byron Sharp, building on the groundbreaking work of Professor Andrew Ehrenburg from way back in the 1960s, has published his seminal work “How Brands Grow” which provides further scientific evidence of the power of the emotional, often unthinking human.”
“Daniel Kahneman has spent a lifetime proving that people’s brains operate on two quite distinct tracks, and the big takeout is that our rational brain is subordinate to our emotions. Along with Antonio Damasio, Richard Thaler and others he has blown up the Cartesian myth that we are reasonable beings,” he said.
There used to be three golden rules to grow your business – 1. Win Your Category, 2. Win The Mind of Your Consumer, and 3. Win Today.
Instead, DDB Australia proposes three new rules – 1. Culture Dwarfs Category, 2. Feelings Conquer Thinking, and 3. Long Term Beats Short Term.
DDB Australia CEO Andrew Little said this represents a paradigm shift in theories of business management.
“All the evidence suggests that behaving in a reasonable, rational fashion is possibly the most dangerous thing a business can do,” Little said.
“Unreasonable growth – real, tangible, exponential growth – rarely comes from acting reasonably.”
“We believe that breakthrough growth is possible using our simple, measurable and actionable approach. We’ve invested more than $1 million into the thinking and tools,” he said.
DDB Sydney managing director Nicole Taylor said DDB has been rolling this thinking out with multiple clients, including Expedia, McDonald’s and Volkswagen, with huge success.
“DDB is at the forefront of creative that’s about feeling not thinking; culture, not categories; and the long term, not the urgent,” Taylor said.
“And we’re already having success – creating unreasonable growth in an age of unreason,” she said.