Technology is evolving. The human brain? Not so much...

05 May 2015
Katz Kiely
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Once upon a time, things were so very simple.

Early man sat together by the campfire sharing stories. If the stories were good, if they elicited an emotional response, those stories would get shared with other members of the tribe.

Stories helped early man to understand, share knowledge and to drive action. Stories are core of the evolution of human society. Religion, ritual, hierarchies have all been supported by powerful, emotive stories.

Things are so very different now.

People are bombarded by content and information across a myriad platforms, devices, apps. Technology is affordable and pervasive. People are sophisticated. They are connected. Everybody has a message to share, a product to sell, important information to impart. Every communication aims to drive action: a reply, a purchase, a desire.

We are social creatures hard wired to respond to stories. Every action and reaction is supported by an internal narrative. Well crafted narratives trigger the release of neurochemicals that change the way we feel and behave.

Surely in this world of information overload, with the massive competition for attention, stories have to be more powerful than ever.

What has all this got to do with getting people to use marketing technology platforms?

Billions of dollars are invested into technology platforms every year by global organisations. These investments fail to achieve their aims over 80% of the time.

Why? Because people don’t use them.

Why don’t they use them?

Often because people are expected to do something different but have no idea WHY the change has been implemented.

Humans are hard wired to resist change so they invent a million excuses why they can carry on doing things the way they have always done them.

…and another well intentioned technology investment hits the deck.

Take a marketing executive in a large global organisation. They have been doing things in the same way year on year. They know what to do and how to do it - then some bright spark comes along and asks them to adopt some newfangled technology. Why should they change?

News flash: Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate. The human brain evolves somewhat more slowly.

Back to the campfire. Maybe the picture is not so very different after all. If the organisation can tell a powerful story about how the change will get them to a better place, maybe then people will listen and respond.

As Simon Sinek says in his TED talk about leadership: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en

You can give try to impress people with a multitude of facts, figures and features, but information does not drive behaviour change.

When we communicate change from the why, from the big story, we appeal to the limbic brain: the part of the brain that drives decision making.

If you want your employees to buy into change and start to use the new technology you’ve just invested millions of $ into, tell them a story.

When people “get the why”, they will use the technology.