(another gargantuan thread)

Everyone remembers #thedress, right? It ripped the world apart when it began to appear on social feeds in February 2015.
People who saw it as white-and-gold couldn’t see it as blue-and-black (and vice versa). And they couldn’t understand how others couldn’t see what THEY saw.

This is definitive proof we’re living in a simulated universe.
The world we see around us is a simulation created in our brain, an electrochemical machine squatting in the darkroom of our skulls.

What looks and feels most real to us, most 𝘰𝘣𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦 (“I saw it with my own eyes”) is as ‘simulated’ as any computer game.
#thedress is evidence of this.

The photo is too ambiguous for our brain to identify one unique interpretation, so it just ... chooses one and sticks with it.

How it makes this choice is made tells us something about marketing.

You knew we were going to shoehorn that in, right?
When processing images, our brains take the “lighting environment” into account.

This postbox is grey.
You think these 🍓 are red, but they aren’t.

Here are some of the “red” strawberry pixels, magnified.
Even though the wavelengths of light bouncing off an object can be a completely different colour depending on time of day, or whether it’s in shadow or bright light, our brain tells us they’re the same colour.
This effect is called “colour constancy”, and without it we‘d find it harder to make sense of the world.…
In the case of #thedress, the ambiguity is caused by our brains not knowing how to interpret the lighting conditions. Is it natural light or shop lighting? Is it in shadow, or not?

@xkcd’s comic covers this succinctly.
Those whose brains decide it’s in natural daylight (and therefore in shadow) perceive it as white-and-gold, and those whose brains decide it’s incandescent shop lighting, blue-and-black.

Here’s the interesting thing. These decisions are 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦.
@pascallisch, assistant professor at NYU’s Department of Psychology, hypothesised that (all else being equal):

A) People who experienced more daylight would tend towards the white-and-gold interpretation, and

B) People who experienced more incandescent light, blue-and-black.
“It is well-known that in situations like this—where it faces profound uncertainty—[the brain] confidently fills in the gaps in knowledge by making assumptions. Usually, its assumptions are based on what it has most frequently encountered in the past.”
“...people who rise early (“larks”) and go to bed at a reasonable time should be exposed to more daylight than those who rise late and go to bed later (“owls”).

In contrast, owls could be expected to experience relatively more incandescent light...”…
@Pascallisch conducted an experiment to test this hypothesis.

The results matched his predictions. Previous experience affected respondents’ priors, leading to different unconscious decision-making.…
“Ok, but how are you going to spin this as a story about professional services marketing?”
We’d have thought this was obvious!

Previous experience affects people’s priors during the decision-making process.

These priors are low-level; they’re not processed consciously, but they have dramatic — and often irreversible impact.
The truly odd thing about this is something called the “Mere-exposure Effect” (…).

Understanding this is key to understanding how one can impact your audiences’ unconscious decision-making machinery.

Do read the Wikipedia article; it’s fascinating.
Here’s what professional services marketers should take away from this:

“Frequency” and “duration” should be more important objectives for your planning than “engagement.”

Conscious, intentional research is based on titanic, unseen, and almost unknowable processes.
So, when you’re reporting on your campaigns, don’t treat the click-through, the article read, or the PDF download as the key metric.

Instead, look at your reach and frequency metrics. And plan to those.
Redesign the lighting around your audience. Use simple, blunt tools to affect their priors.

That way, when they’re presented with a choice, they’re more likely to choose you.

Follow @AkiyoshiKitaoka for mind-altering optical illusions

Listen to @Pascallisch on @davidmcraney’s ‘You Are Not So Smart’ podcast:…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Digital Whiskey

Digital Whiskey Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @digital_whiskey

20 Nov
Share of mentions isn’t the same as share of voice

(A thread)
Share of voice (SOV) is a strong tool in advertising planning and budgeting. There’s convincing evidence that brands whose SOV consistently exceeds their market share (eSOV) can grow that share.

There’s increasing evidence that “Share of search” is a strong predictor of future market share.…
Read 16 tweets
9 Nov
How Evil Marketing Geniuses Hack Group Decision-Making

(a very long thread - Part 1)
Professional services marketers are often faced with marketing to a DMU (Decision Making Unit). No two DMUs are the same. Groups of people behave in odd ways.
Marketing types know this in their bones. We know damn well that it’s hard to predict the behaviour of an individual. Individuals are mostly random.

But groups – groups we can model.

I’m sure you’ve all seen one of these flocks – murmurations – of starlings.
Read 29 tweets
6 Nov
THREAD: Audience development is the biggest challenge for podcasts.

Discovery is the second biggest; and the primary contributor to the audience development problem.

These are the exactly the kinds of challenge that Digital Whiskey is supposed to help with.
But we find it can be a struggle.

Here's one of the more obvious lessons we've learned.
If the podcast is about a topic, then the topic should be in the title to aid discovery Image
Read 8 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!