Truth Live Recap: Learnings From Our Talk With System1’s Anna Lakomy

Higher Order

Truth Collective Truth CollectiveAug 12, 2020

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The full recording of our August 6, 2020 livestream with System1’s Anna Lakomy.

Did you miss our last Truth Live? We had a great time chatting with Anna Lakomy, General Manager at System1, a marketing research firm specializing in using technology to help create better and more effective advertising. If you didn’t make it, don’t fret: We’ve collected the biggest takeaways from that conversation. Or, you can ‘head to our Facebook page and watch it—after all, it’s not every day you get to see our CSO John Roberts in action now, is it?

What is System 1, and how is it different from System 2?

As our guest explained, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow (we highly recommend reading it), found that there are two distinct modes of thought: System 1 and System 2. The latter is a more rational, deliberative, slow, and also a quite rare system of thinking. System 1, on the other hand, is fast, emotional, intuitive, and happens much more often than the latter. What’s interesting is that, although people tend to believe their purchasing decisions are mostly rational and calculated, research tells us it’s the opposite: The buying experience is highly emotional and often falls under System 1 thinking. As Anna herself said, “If you make people feel more, they’ll buy more.”

How can short- and long-term brand/marketing goals live together?

John, our Chief Strategy Officer, said it best when it comes to the role of advertising in delivering short- and long-term marketing results: “Our job is not an either/or; it’s a whole.” When we create work that gets an intense, immediate, positive emotional response, we can meet both sales and brand-building goals. Positive emotional reactions create memories, which helps people cultivate a lasting relationship with your brand. Yes, it’s challenging to create campaigns that do both, but that’s the type of work that can help brands overcome temporary setbacks and navigate drastic economic and social changes like those we’re currently experiencing.

What are the consequences of the rise of left-brain marketing campaigns?

You may not have noticed, but since 2006, campaigns infused with left-brain features have skyrocketed. Even if you don’t know the difference between left- and right-brain advertising, you’re sure to have seen those marketing campaigns: They’re flashy and fast, with a voice-over telling us what to do and how to feel, and they’re replayed over and over again. They’ve also become more prominent since the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, not to mention the development of cutting-edge analytical tools. This combination of affordable yet widely available media and never-ending data can hide an ugly truth: Short-term goals don’t help build or grow a brand. Sure, adding a few promotions here and there won’t hurt, but only doing so won’t help create loyalty among your customers or turn them into advocates for your brand.

How is the pandemic affecting the perception of ads?

While we saw tons (and we mean TONS) of super-emotional campaigns from the beginning of this pandemic, most of them didn’t evoke a positive response—either because they were driven by negative emotions (like fear) or because they didn’t introduce a solution to the tension they helped build. On the other hand, non-emotionally engaging campaigns are performing even worse now than they were before. It’s not too much to say that creating ads that only gather neutral reactions is like pouring money down the drain. During these “unprecedented times,” we’re witnessing a growing need for real, authentic connections, with relatable human insights, no matter how big or small.

What’s the deal with marketers marketing to each other?

While it’s been proved that brilliant creative can do both—earn recognition from award shows and achieve your brand’s marketing and business goals—we have to be mindful not to develop work that’s “creative for creative’s sake.” As Anna said, our industry is “quite niche,” so unless we’re targeting other marketers, we still need to keep the positive emotional response we want from our audience in mind (and not just our peers and other ad people).

Then, after all, what should brands do now?

Resist the temptation to develop more left-brain marketing campaigns and lean into right-brain features to build authentic relationships. That doesn’t have to depend solely on 60-second commercials. Engaging people in your story can happen through your blog posts, newsletters, podcasts, websites, etc. Take the time to provide your audience with meaningful and useful content and experiences. Trust us: Your long-term brand-building goals will thank you.

Stay tuned to our social media pages for more Truth-exclusive content. Together, we can help you and your brand navigate these troubled waters.

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