Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The right brained digital technologists

After almost 15 years in advertising and marketing, I, along with a friend, decided to 'work for ourselves'. We set up a company called Bright Angles Consulting. Our dream is to help people with their digital marketing strategies. So far so good.

But we stumbled upon a funny thing when we started meeting potential clients and friends - a tug of war between what we said and what they heard.
We said 'insight miners', they heard 'number crunchers.
We said 'mind mappers', they heard 'chart readers'.
We said 'story tellers' they heard 'code writers'.

It continues so on and so forth. The mind tends to hear what it is already programmed to hear. The world of digital technology has no place for 'right brained words'. After all, we are talking about the world of technology.  

The little nugget I collected from our meetings was - while the world technically has progressed from 'information age' to a 'conceptual age' ( a term coined by Daniel H Pink) somewhere along the way, we have forgotten to embed it into our minds. Consequently, most of us still believe that the 'T' word is a domain of the left brained where the right brain does not even play a supporting role.

Strange. For a minute, let's forget Facebook and others in the social media space whose foundation lies in an understanding of human behaviour. Let's think about our smartphones.

We live in an era where our smartphones now not only respond to our touch but also talk to us! That should be ample proof that logical, linear, analytical thinkers alone no longer create hard core technology in isolation. Apple perhaps was the first company that recognized the need to understand subtleties of human interaction and come up with aesthetically designed products the world did not know it was missing. Who would have ever imagined, a dash of empathy into a world of hard nosed linear logical thinkers could create a company this big (current market cap: $571.38 billion), helping it to zoom way ahead of established competitors such as Dell and HP ( current market cap $16.03 billion and $27.90 billion respectively.). It's time, decision makers recognize that numbers driven quantitative data in isolation will not help them arrive at a business solution. Be it for product development or  digital marketing.

The foundation of a good marketing strategy lies in a well answered 'why' for every piece of quantitative data. Only a well rounded team of right brained meaning makers and pattern recognizers along with left brained chart readers, number crunchers and code writers can arrive at insightful strategies, apt even for the digital world. It's not a job either can do well in isolation.

Sooner marketers integrate qualitative understanding in their digital marketing strategies and product development, the faster they will see the full utilization of the power of the digital technology.

Till then, wish us luck as we continue our uphill task of explaining what we the right brained technologists really do.




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