Press Room

Last week, Monex Europe were pleased to welcome advertising and behavioural science guru, Rory Sutherland, to give a keynote talk on behavioural science and rational thinking. 

Rory, who is currently Vice-Chairman of global advertising and marketing company, Ogilvy UK, is also a hugely popular and sought after TED speaker and an acclaimed author.

Rory has been working at Ogilvy since 1988, and in 2012 set up the behavioural science practice arm of the business, Ogilvy Consulting, that offers behavioural science training to companies worldwide. Ogilvy Consulting creatively apply insights of behavioural science to diagnose, create and validate what they call “unseen opportunities”

Rory started the webinar by saying that what he was here to talk about was “really quite an outrageous suggestion”, a rather unusual but immediately gripping opening, with the rest of his talk continuing in a similar fashion.

During his talk, Rory explained how we (as humans), have made a fundamental mistake in economics, by using a series of assumptions to develop a mathematical model on human behaviour, that doesn’t take human emotion into account whatsoever.

As a result, we have become completely blind to the value that marketing and psychology can add to a product or service.

Economics has become the key player among business decisions when really, behavioural economics can often provide better answers. Rory demonstrated how behavioural science has offered marketing a chance to take back influence and show its worth.

Businesses proceed with the obsession of creating value, and doing this by making products intrinsically and measurably better. However, he argued should not be the case at all…

There’s a problem with this rational approach – humans aren’t logical, and subconsciously make decisions based on emotions. Most businesses regard marketing and psychology as essentially trivial concerns, a major flaw according to Rory.

Rory used an array of great and extremely insightful examples to show how hugely successful businesses have used behavioural psychology to think outside of the box, by using clever psychological tricks and making changes to their approach as opposed to the product/service itself.

Marketing and psychology can generate value just as effectively as new product development or invention or manufacturing.

An example that stood out, in particular, was the foundation in which Uber was built. The business idea came from a completely psychological idea. Rory illustrated how it doesn’t matter how long the taxi takes to arrive, what matters is that the map and tracking device takes away that uncertainty that people can’t bear. He linked this to how Uber has rightly played to our emotional needs and created a service to satisfy them.

“We are highly emotional creatures.”

Another modern example that he used was how our behaviour has changed as result of the sudden adoption of Zoom meetings during the pandemic for everything from working, and studying to socialising from home. Nothing changed about the product itself in regards to price or its capacity in March, however suddenly we all had psychological permission to use it down to necessity, and will continue to even after the pandemic. This, Rory explained, demonstrates that consumer behaviour is extremely volatile.

Human’s are not “wholly rational” beings persisted Rory, and as a result, we need to alter our methods and continue to make more discoveries in the psychological realm, in order to find out what people want.

Rory’s innovative and original behavioural science methods, unique flair, and completely relatable approach made his talk a pleasure to listen too. He is a one of a kind character, whose wit and knowledge impressed throughout.

Rory inspired and educated the employees at Monex, demonstrating how his teachings can also be applied outside of business and office life. Interestingly, Rory encouraged the team to not always think logically, and start asking more “stupid” questions.

“Spend a bit of time experimenting with crazy. When you do something crazy, you’re less likely to succeed, but if you do succeed the value of your discovery is much greater because no one else will copy it.”

The behavioural science training enabled the team to see beyond what is right in front of them, and delve a little deeper into the way that humans think. Monex Europe’s employees were challenged to think differently, and taught that it’s okay to defy the status quo.