Today, ‘influencer marketing’ is a thriving industry. It’s a business model with champions and heroes, platforms, norms and taboos. However, back in 2009 when Levy started the Influencer Dinner network, hashtags were just a gleam in Kim Kardashian’s eye. It would be another three years before she would take to Instagram, or for the FTC to start regulating promotional bloggers and celebrity endorsements on social media channels.
Wired for New
As Jon explained, we’re wired for novelty. The substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area of the brain (SN/VTA) is a major source of dopamine, which bathes our brain in reward chemicals when we discover something new or we learn something. The SN/VTA is responsible for motivational salience, a cognitive process that encourages our behaviour towards a perceived outcome. Jon talks about this in his 2018 TED talk, and in much of his writing. This part of the brain focuses on what’s new: When a human is exposed to the same thing repeatedly, this part of the brain responds less. We are wired for ‘new’.
Intuit founder Scott Cook Says “brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” While true, this doesn’t mean you can abdicate the role of messaging and positioning to your consumers. When your market’s conversations line up with your messaging, i.e. when you have achieved fluency, great things happen.
For a masterclass in understanding influence, relevance and fluency, you’re just going to have to read ‘You’re Invited’. It is an immersive read that breaks down the mechanics of interest. Packed full of stories, twists and unexpected outcomes, it reveals the hidden truths of the psychology of community and belonging.
Jon armed us with a cluster of new case studies, and a deeper understanding of the importance of interest, trust and connection. He also shared a link to his games deck which his team used brilliantly when Influencer Dinners pivoted to virtual during the pandemic.
So – Our final takeaway. Attention and interest are two very different things. To garner interest, you must seek relevancy. For that relevancy to stick, you must have fluency, and that’s the key to unlocking attention and converting it into action, or profitable demand.