716: The 2 Factors That Drive Human Preference w/ Allen Gannett

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Allen Gannett, Author of The Creative Curve and CEO at TrackMaven.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

A relationship with the right referral partner could be a game changer for any Bob Company. So what if you could reverse engineer these relationships at a moment's notice, start a podcast, invite potential referral partners to be guests on your show and grow your referral network faster than ever? Learn more at sweetish MEDIACOM. You're listening to the be tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. This episode is sponsored by Directive Consulting, the B Tob Search Marketing Agency. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here today with Alan Gannett. He has been on the show multiple times. He's at the CEO at track maven. He's also the author of the brand new book the creative curve, releasing in June. Alan, how you doing it? Amen, I'm great. Thanks for having me on the show. Man. I am really pumped to have you. I feel like every time you're on the show, I end up repurposing your episode into a video or some piece of content, because it's always bold. You're so charming, so I'm really genuinely pumped to be chatting with you today. I've been following you on Linkedin and if you're listening to this and you're not following Alan on Linkedin, you you're just not that smart, to be honest. So you should definitely be following him. He's crushing it there. Your engagement has been through the roof and you're writing this this new book creative curve. So so first out and tell us a little bit about what you're interest humor up to attract Maven, and then I want to che to tell us kind of the precipice for for your book, what made you write the creative curve, and then we're going to get into it. Yeah, so I've been running track Maven for about five and a half years and we're the marketing in sites company. So what we do is we have our own big data platform where we suck in marketing data for a lot of big consumer brands like the NBA, use, sex avenue, Marriott, Honda, all these all these big brands you've heard of and love and then when we give them as, we have analysis tools and visualization tools to help them understand what are the stories and the patterns in the data. So what are the things that you do more of? What are the things that should do less of? It is all across digital marketings of social content paid and then you I work a lot with these marketers and these people who are part of this creative industry, but a few years ago I started realizing that when I was talking to them there is this sort of weird mentality going on where, well, you know, they'd say things like well, I'm not that creative. You know any high an agencies to do that? I wasn't born with that ability. And I start getting frustrated and I'm a stubborn guy who grew up in New Jersey and I was like no, no, that's not true. Like, if you actually read the stories, read the memoirs, read the autobiographies of...

...these creative geniuses we talked about, you actually read them, these are not the stories of people who are just, you know, born out of the womb with all this amazing talent. They're not the stories of genetic lottery, the stories of hard, thoughtful work not just hard work, but hard, thoughtful work, and I got really just sort of pumped up about this. I started giving speeches and marketing conferences about sort of the truth behind creativity and how it's a lot more intentional than it seems, and the talk went over really well and someone was like, Hey, this should be a book, and before long I was, you know, working on a book all about debunking this myth of the inspiration theory of creativity. I love it. I love it, and so you've been teasing kind of you know. I know you know pieces of what of what the book is about just from, you know, a little bit of the stuff you've been putting on Linkedin and as we're talking about offline, you mentioned one particular thing. We're going to talk about a few things from the book, but one that was really interesting. You have a section of the book that talks about of what drives human taste and preference, which is super interesting idea. Can you talk to us a little bit about that part of the book and and or what you discovered as you were kind of researching and writing that section of the book? Yeah, so the book is broken up into two half. So the first half of the book is debunking this idea of the inspiration theory of creativity, that you know, it's mystical, divine inspiration that's driving your creative achievement. The second half of the Book I interview twenty five living creative Jesus. These are billionaires like David Rubinstein. You start up moguls like Kevin Ryan, Alex so hangeum from Reddit. This is your PASSAIC, and Paul, who did this music behind Lala Land, dear enhance and and the greatest showman. It's Hes. It's these people who are are of living embodiments of creative achievement. And in the first half of the book what I did is I broke down the science behind creativity, because creativity is one of those things that seems sort of like esoteric and existential, but there's actually a ton of science between neuroscience, psychology, sociology and there, Paul, you, we know a lot about how creativity actually works, and one really great example of this is your creativity, by definition, is the ability to create things that are both novel and valuable. Novel and valuable can't just be novel, because then it's just, you know, if I just throw a paint on a canvas, like, if I do it, it's not creative, it's just I just create something new. If it's just valuable, well, I recently learned how to do conditional color formatting and Xcel, and that's valuable, but it's definitely not novel, it's definitely not create native and so, since you have to create things are both novel and valuable. Well, there's an issue. Value is actually a subjective assessment. Right value. For things to be valuable, we all have...

...to agree they're valuable. So the understanding of human preference, of trends, of consumer likability, these things are critical to actually understanding creativity. And so one of the most interesting things I found in my research is that there's this phenomenon that scientists have found, and the academic term for it, which is kind of horrendous, is the inverted, you shape relationship between familiarity and preference, and I'll break down what that actually means, but I call it. Instead of that, I called the creative curve, and it's this finding that scientists have found that the more we see something here, something experience something, the more we like it up until a point, and then the more we see it the less we like it. So think about like a song, like maybe the first time you heard the new drake song or like this is terrible. The third time you're like I love this song, the tenth time you're like, I'm starting to get a little bored. The fifteen time you're like, please stop playing this song. Like nice for a while, like I don't know what's Nice about this right. And so you have is this upside down you shape relationship between the more you expose is something and the more you like it, and then eventually the less you like it. And so what this means for marketers, creators, for any of these people, is that your job as a marketer is actually great ideas that are neither too familiar nor to novel. You need create ideas that are that right blend of familiarity and novelty. You want things that they're not so new that people are like, I don't want ever experience this again. This is terrifying, you know, on things that are so familiar that they're bored and they're overdone. So the best ideas are this blend of familiarity and novelties. You think about the first star wars. It was literally a Western in space. That's literally what it was. It was not entirely new story. ARC is not a new plot. It was a western in space. Right now there's this whole trend going around the country of Sushi Burritos, these giants, Sushi rolls that you eat like a Burrito, and it's familiar and novel. It's taking the country by storm. And so you see this again and again, where the actually the ideas that we latch onto from a creative perspective, they're not the ideas that they're they're so new and they're not the ideas that are the same old, same old, the ideas that are a blend of both. And that's when the most important findings I found in my research, because once you understand that, which you realize is that these great creatives you look up to, really their skill is not being innovative, their skills being just the right level of innovative interesting. And so, as it relates to that, Alan you you'd also mentioned offline and of understanding why trends exist, so that the reason that the trend exists is because it's a perfect balance of those two things. In my understanding, that right. Yeah, familiarity and novelty, and the reason why goes back to evolutionary biology, where we have these two contradictory urges. So we like things that are familiar because they represent safety. Right,...

...if I saw a cave I've never seen before, while my mother probably dangerous, first of I saw a cave that I've slept in a million times as a caveman, I go out. This is probably safe. But we also are wired to seek out novelty for potential reward, because if we're a hunter gatherer and we see a barry we've never seen before, it also represents the potential source of new food. But these two things that seem like a contradiction, our search for familiarity and our search for novelty, really what they are is our brains really elegant way of balancing risk and reward. Right, we want to eat that piece of fruit that we've never seen before but kind of looks like a piece of fruit we have even before. If it looks like nothing we've ever seen before, we know we should probably stay away because it might be poisonous. And so this two very primal instincts are actually with drives consumer preference. We want things that are the right balance of familiar and novel. Today's gross story revolves around search engine marketing. DELPHIC's a big data platform and hired an agency to manage their bugle adds a few years ago, but they weren't seeing the results they wanted to see. Being such a technical be tob solution, they set out to find a team that could take on their challenge. After countless proposals, they found the perfect fit directive consulting, the BB search marketing agency, and just one week after launching directives campaigns, Delphi saw their lead volume double and their costper lead drop by sixty percent. I have a hunch that directive can get these kind of results for you too, so head over to directive consultingcom and request a totally free custom proposal. That's directive consultingcom. All right, let's get back to this interview. The marketer listening to this Alan to get real practical here is so, how do you take that insight that you just shared and how do you actually create campaigns with that in mind? So the one thing that's really important, obviously, is don't do what everyone else is doing, I think, and be tob marketing, especially this is a huge problem. People are doing the same old, same old, and that's not going to drive interest. It's not going to drive and summer preference. Similarly, you can't do something that's so new right to the best things are that perfect little blend of familiar novel. Maybe take an idea from B Toc marketing applied to bedb marketing, but use the same over underlying concepts around product positioning and messaging to actually use that format. So it's about blending those two things. The other thing that marketers need to do that's really important is, well, if familiarity is really important to creating things that stick, well, then you also have to consume a lot of information because you actually have to know what's out there. You have to know what your audience is actually seen, you have to know what will be familiar. So one of the things I found that was so surprising to me was,...

...you know, we talked about creatives. There's this meme. We've probably seen it of you know, ninety percent of people consume, nine percent of people engage, one percent of people create. It's like so stupid. But but the reason why it's stupid is not only as a kind of silly but also it's just not true, because when I interviewed these famous creatives, they spend a huge amount of time consuming information very, very narrowly in their niche, and the reason why is that this allows them to understand what is familiar, what their audience already has seen. If part of your job is creating that blend of familiarity and novelty, will you better know what's familiar to your audience? And that's something that is marketers you need to do. If you're in a very specific feel, let's say you're in cyber security, well damn it, you better read all the stuff your audience is reading. You better have that same underlying exposured information and content so you know what's interesting, what's overplayed, what's underplayed. You have to understand those two things. I love it. So it's one. One particular use case, just in a B tob space, that is come into mind for me is there's a company called lucid out in Salt Lake City and the the software and is a this diagramming tool, so you can diagram sales processes. A lot of technical folks use it to diagram like code and stuff like the technical elements of their product, but they do these incredible videos that are based on like really pop culture references. So they they've done like they did a Dogo video. They've mapped out like the origins of Star Wars and like how star wars looks in a in a lucid chart. Basically, that's awesome. They're tapping into culture and and, to your point, what's familiar and combine it with their product. I mean they're their dogo video that they just did had like, I want to say it had like over ten million views or something crazy like that. Like it went nuts on facebook and on youtube and and so is that what you're like? That be an example of what you're talking about example. But do you see other bb brands that are doing better at this than most? Because I totally agree that the BB world is like a trap for like, okay, let's do another Webinar and right, another book. Yeah, I mean that that is that's a perfect example. I mean, I think mas has always done a good job of this. You know, they started doing like Whiteboard Fridays and a lot of video stuff back when video is really early. So it is applying these these new mediums to familiar types of content. That's usually were through blog post or white papers right, applying that novel twist and that really suck out right whiteboard Fridays from Oz that really well because it's nothing that you couldn't read in a blog post. In fact, many of the stuff they had blog posts about. But the format was new, it was different, it was fresh, but it was still in a very familiar type of...

...teaching, very familiar type of educational value. Then mass audiences new and so yeah, I think what you're describing is a perfect example of it. But I think you don't even have to reference culture. You can just reference new formats, new mediums. There's all sorts of ways you can add that little twist of familiarity and that little twist of novelty. Because we did we did a we did a Gary v want to be video. See, I saw its great and that and so is. It was kind of that same like as I'm kind of putting it through your lens now and I think of like, okay, the Gary v thing is familiar because people already, you know, Love Gary V, and then adding like our little twist to me desperately trying to be him and failing, but even in your videos down that you're putting out on Linkedin. I've liked been fascinated by them because of their simplicity. You're doing these one minute videos. They're caption and so it. You know, we're I don't have to, you know, listen to it. Actually I can. I can read the video, but linkedin seems to be favoring video on Linkedin. So you're popping up in my feet. I'm consuming that content and and you're asking someone one question. So it's not like you're trying to do a ten minute video with you know, these really all. I mean you had Kobe Bryant on one of your videos. Like you're in the room some incredible people. Can you tell us a little bit about how you thought about, like your approach to linkedin video and what ultimately kind of got you to land in that space, because it seems like you kind of ran it through the framework that you just talked I mean, I was I've been working on the book for three years, very slowly, and and linkedin video came out last July, when you I had my first version of the mainscript done, and so what I saw it as an opportunity. I was like, you know, one of the things that talking about my book is the power of timing and how that interact with familiarity novelty. And what I realized was that, okay, on Linkedin, you clearly there's gonna be things that work that are new, that our novel. And basically what I was doing was I was taking a concept that I saw work well on facebook and Youtube and I was bring it to linkedin early, when it wasn't overdone, wasn't overexposed. I sort of knew it would work and I did something that I enjoy doing, like I'm a very curious person. I is part of my job and market facing some constantly meeting New People, so it's easy for me to film videos. But I sort of knew, like as long as I x secure to right, it would work, and that's one of the powerful things. When you start understanding creativities of metasystem, that actually makes it a lot easier. So I did a book trailer for my book. You can watch the creative curve and basically my whole idea was, and I credit them pretty directly, is my whole idea is like let's do sort of a dollar shape club style walk and talk video, but for a book. And you know, people haven't done it for a book before, so I know the formats interesting and compelling and fun. Let me do it for a book. And I also took some components from like some wes Anderson asked scenery and how he did some of the shots, and the whole idea was taking some things from culture, that and it's other Internet verticals that I knew worked and...

...putting them in the format of a book trailer. And it did really well and really viral. Got Tons and tons of tons of views. I think across all channels I got a hundred thousand views, which just crazy for a book trailer. And so that stuff. It makes creativity a lot more accessible because it gives you that way of thinking of like okay, like is this going to be something that people resonate with, or is it going to be too weird, or is it going to be just more of the same? Yeah, I love that. Alan. To close it out, I want to talk about data and I've known you for a couple of years now and I love the passion that you have for data and I think there's I don't know, there's this seems to be this weird relationship between the creative process cess and and data. Can you talk to us about of how you how you think about that and then how that fleshed itself out in the book? Yeah, so I wrote a chapter all about the use of data driven cycles and creativity, because one of the things I thought was fascinating because I interviewed all these great creatives and they're actually very systematic. You know, we think about creativities something where you go in a cab at all by yourself and you know, you come out with your great American novel once done, boom. That's not have. Creativity works across all these different fields, I found over and over again, because that's highly interative and they're constant trying to get in information about what their audience likes, how familiar or novel is it. And so, for example, I spend a day with Ben and Jerry's flavor team, which was like a lot of fun and really bad for someone who can't tolerate milk and but it was fun. And I said, a day with them and you think about you they have all these amazing like chefs and food scientists and there are d team and you might think, well, they're just like creating flavors and experimenting but actually what they do is every year, you know, they consume tons of information about food and trends. They do these things called trend tracks where they actually go and travel to different cities to experience, like what our local restaurants doing. You know what a new flavors are bars experimenting with? Do local, you know grocers have interesting new products and taste? Then they take all the information and they come up with a list of two under ideas that they think match, you know, what's going to be in that sweet spot of familiarity novelty. Then they literally send an email survey to their email subscribers that ask two questions for each flavor idea. One, how likely are you to buy this flavor? And too, how unique is it? Another way to put this is how familiar and how novel is it, because if they just ask you how likely are you to buy it, well, they'd end up an entire line full of cookies and Brownie and caramel flavors, which sounds good, but it would eventually make the brand tired stale and the entire brand would eventually fail. But if they just focused on uniqueness, well then you have flavors that might be too unique so if they found is they can actually serve a people and find what's that sweet spot between familiarity...

...and novelty and from there, once they actually window down the list, only then do they actually go into creating samples and batches and doing that type of testing. And so that's just a small example, but one of the most powerful ways that marketers can use data is a way to understand where something will fall in that bell curve relationship between familiarity and novelty for their audience. Right, listening to your audience. If your job is to create something for an audience, you darn well better listen to them. This has been phenomenal. If if there's somebody listening to this, obviously they need to go and pre order the creative curve right now. So one, where can they do that? And then how can they stay connected with you and learn more about track moment as well? Yeah, so if you go to the creative curvecom there's links book trailers, reviews, all sorts of stuff. For me, go to Alan dot x y Z. that's Alllle and Xyz you can find links to track, Naven and my social media and all that good stuff. And thanks so much James, awesome and will again thank you so much for your time today. This has been phenomenal and really appreciate it. But I dude, there are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the beadd growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BOB growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's be toob growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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