An evolutionary psychology perspective on building more mutualistic brands
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. An evolutionary psychologyperspective on buildingmutualistic brandsJune, 2013Tom@tomwoodnu1.com www.feelingmutual.com
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality and me…. This presenta<on is about the power of mutuality to build be1er brand rela<onships… I started championing the idea as part of my entry into the Admap prize 2012: ‘Planning 3.0 The planning landscape in 2020’ I’ve since been wri<ng about the concept @ www.feelingmutual.com
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. What is mutuality? Deﬁned as: “A state of reciprocity or sharing” In nature it is used to describe symbio<c rela<onships. Like this example of the clown ﬁsh and sea anemone. They each protect the other from their predators while also exchanging nutrients. SOURCE: (1) BusinessDic<onary.com
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. I believe that when applied to business and brand building, the idea of mutuality can solve some big challenges, namely that: 1 – People expect be1er value from brands 2 – Brands ignore people’s true needs 3 – People avoid data-‐sharing and par<cipa<on 4 – Brands fail to understand social networks 5 – Clients and agencies are too isola<onist What problems canmutuality help solve?
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. When companies embrace mutuality it means: 1 – they focus on crea<ng more value 2 – they listen to social and individual needs 3 – they inspire data-‐sharing and par<cipa<on 4 – they enrich social networks 5 – they create a climate of collabora<on Mutuality means focusingexplicitly on shared-value
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. I decided to explore the origins of mutuality and our ins<nct to reciprocate. So I collaborated with UCL to review the literature wri1en about the psychological origins of reciprocity. I was overwhelmed by just how intrinsic it is to human nature. . . So much of what we’ve become can be traced back to our animal ancestors. Why is mutuality soimportant to people?
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality is fundamentalto human existence We cooperate with cooperators (Braver, 1975) We give to those who have given to us (dePaulo 1983) We self-‐disclose to those who share with us (Cunningham, 1986) We yield to those who we have persuaded (Cialdini et al 1992) “Reciprocity has long been recognized as a universal cornerstone of morality, ra4onal choice, and group life” (Brown, 1991)
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality is highly emotiveLack of mutuality leads to burn out depression, job dissa<sfac<on and divorce (Buunk 1999) Many human emo<ons relate to reciprocity: e.g. gra<tude, sympathy, guilt, obliga<on and sensi<vity to injus<ce (Trivers, 1985) Many psychological problems can be mapped to ineﬀec<ve reciproca<on (Glantz, 1989) People are averse to feeling indebted (Greenberg, 1983)
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Evolution explains theimportance of mutualityWe can understand why mutuality is so fundamental to the huiman condi<on by looking at evolu<onary psychology. “Human morality is steeped in animal blood” (de Waal, 1996)
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality is adaptive Altruism can be understood from a mutualis<c perspec<ve. ‘Reciprocal Altruism’ explains reciprocity between non-‐kin (Trivers, 1971) We help one another because of an innate expecta<on that the favour will be returned – which in turn helps us to survive. I believe brands need to tap into this ins<nct by crea<ng more value for people. In return people will feel more compelled to be loyal advocates ‘A strong concern with reciprocity may have fostered survival and reproducIve success in our evoluIonary past’ (Buss 1996)
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality is encouraged bylow cost-benefit ratios ‘Reciprocal Altruism’ is more likely when it costs li1le to help others (de Waal, 1996) A Hyena can’t eat all of its kill, so it will share it with others, in the expecta<on that the favour to be returned one day…. There so much value that brands can give to people at very li1le cost to themselves (whether that be discounts, fame or simply dialogue and gra<tude)
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality relies on longterm relationships Long term rela<onships make the the opportunity for reciproca<on even greater (Gould, 1989) Bats only regurgitate blood for one another when together for at least 60% of the <me (Wilkinson, 1984) This relates to the importance of brands having ongoing dialogue with people, through social media and eCRM programmes. It facilitates the two-‐way rela<onship….
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality requiresrecognition Animals more likely to reciprocate when be1er at recognising others (Tooby, 1992) Male baboon is more likely to help another unrelated baboon if they once helped them in a ﬁght (Trivers, 1985) This can be related to how vital it is for brands to inspire people to opt-‐in to cookies, register and to share their data. Then they can recognise them on their return and nurture the rela<onship.
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutualistic systems workout better for people…FC Barcelona has the cheapest adult season <cket (£75 vs Arsenal £1500) 1 Giﬀ Gaﬀ the mobile operator (run by its members) enjoy 91% customer sa<sfac<on2 John Lewis partnership gave its 80,000 staﬀ bonuses worth 17% of salaries3 …And had 15% increase in proﬁts despite the recessionTelegraph online: ‘Staﬀ at the heart of the John Lewis success story’ 4 SOURCE: (1) ‘Barça: Fan Ownership and the future of football’ – Dave Boyle (2) Lithium: Giﬀ Gaﬀ Case Study (3) Sky News: ‘John Lewis Proﬁts and Bonuses Rise strongly’ 7/3/13 (4) Telegraph online: ‘Staﬀ at the heart of the John Lewis success story’
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. Mutuality makes successfulsocial media campaigns Converse gave up and coming ar<sts recording <me and exposure to their fans on facebook. By crea<ng value for customers (through new music) and value for musicians (through distribu<on) they earned 22m likes on Facebook. Haagen dasz got ½ a million tweets by giving $1 for each hashtag #savethe bees. They tapped into the broader social context of their brand and people rewarded them for doing so.
Copyright Tom Woodnu1 Ltd. The feeling is mutual…. Mutuality works….. To ﬁnd out about progressive ways to make brand strategy more mutualis<c. . . ….please get in touch. @tomwoodnu1 www.feelingmutual.com