“Cruisin' down the street in my 6-4, Jockin' the freaks, clockin' the dough” - Ease-E, Boyz N The Hood
This is pretty much all I knew and all I interpreted about the word Cruising before we started working with our Cruise holiday client; Cruise 1st. We had worked on holidays, travel, flights, tourism before but never cruises.
My experience dictates how I think, not just what I think of but why I think as I do. In this case, crusin’ is not a trigger word about the nostalgia of 1991 when I discovered rap! This is why we work so hard on the truth of who any client is and the who their customer really is and why they are that way. If you don’t find the real truth of the customer, of brand, you expose yourself to selection bias and the majority of bias flows in and out us humans unconsciously.
The cruise industry operates not based (unfortunately) on Easy-E, it’s anchored around a 55+ age target audience. Not many of today's 55 year olds listen to NWA (although I hear it’s catching on with 70-75 year olds), if they don’t want Rap what do they want from their Cruise provider?
The first step of eliminating bias is to understand the decision making criteria of those you aim to serve. We ran a pattern recognition program on customer feedback, we are looking for the reasons a customer buys.
We do this for the ten closest competitors for each client too, it allows you to balance insights and look for more patterns.
Pattern recognition is so important as it surfaces meaning behind purchase, meaning is why we decide to engage and to buy, meaning is our decision making.
At this point I want to call out that we are NOT talking about sentiment analysis, I mention this because the math of sentiment analysis is way too loose and too conscious. Too loose because it assumes language as an absolute, doesn’t account for local phrases, it creates a false narrative. Too conscious because what we share about a brand on social media is peak emotion meaning we are overtly happy or super frustrated, mainly the latter. If your math is flawed the answer you get will only ever be a partial, it’s a fallacy.
The pattern recognition I am talking about is the hidden meaning, it’s the visuals, it’s the reactions to websites, it’s the engagement, it’s the why of the data and mostly importantly it’s the reasons why people don’t engage. If you think about what conversion optimisation is, it’s knowing why people don’t currently engage right now and understanding how to correct that. That’s what neurodesign and neurolinguistics comes down to, it’s how the brain interprets the visual and language you are presenting to them, when, how and in what order. We have reverse engineered those factors so we can analyse and see patterns.
What makes a pattern? It’s data driven proof of repeating issues and what to do about it.
Once we complete this analysis our 2nd step is to use our Behavioral Optimisation product. It has 114 parts, a combination of various thinking sciences, types of psychology and behavioural economics (nudge theory), it’s a beast. For Cruise 1st, we got 87 actionable insights to understand and create for the decision making of the target audience.
Step 1 and Step 2 combined is not just how to create the experiences but also the rules to follow in terms of design, language and data. These rules are purposely designed to drive out my bias, or anyones bias who has to work on the client. Eliminating bias is a massive part of why we spent four years researching and building our products, otherwise you are at the whim of bias of your own experiences.
Think about anytime a brand you like sends you an email showing neon clothing on the back of what looks like an 18 year old. Somewhere in their system there is a 23 year old working super hard to pick clothes for the 35 year old and that’s their perception and selection bias doing the best it can.
The same is of course true for you as it is for every human, what we experience is what we think and what we do. It’s bias, often this bias is not even known to us and it adapts our behaviour accordingly.
The voice of the customer often fails by the bias of self. It is a reality distortion field that gets altered without anyone actually knowing they are doing it. It’s why the Army campaign was and is getting such flack. It’s a concept by someone who doesn’t know how or why the target audience behaves as it does. Hence snowflake and binge gamer, words people say about other people not the words the ones who actions these behaviours would ever say. You are completely crushing your chance to convert your target audience straight out the gate. Throw in saying low confidence and it’s doomed, anyone with low confidence doesn’t need to be told, too direct, too misaligned let alone lacking any social psychology insights.
It’s a classic point of failure of lots of brands, you can’t fix what you don’t really understand.
Back to Cruise, we used our lack of bias to optimise the key landing pages for the Cruise promotional activity.
Their #1 page got a massive 46% increase in Sales calls (the key metric, calls are sales).
Give people more of what they want and they will do what you desire!
Beware your own bias, it is your own limitation no matter how cool it is: