Understanding how we build our opinions
I’m currently sat writing this in self-isolation as I contracted covid for the second time this year, a few days ago - however, it does provide plenty of time to reflect on the year that has passed and the year ahead.
Before getting into some thoughts on how people form opinions, I wanted to wish you all well and hope you’re staying safe in the run up to xmas, particularly with the rise in covid cases.
This is my last newsletter of 2021 - thank you for reading my ramblings this year and I’ve absolutely loved all the feedback thus far. It’s definitely taken a different shape than expected based on feedback (less frequent and less news related), but I’ll be sure to keep evolving in 2022.
One thing I think we can all agree on this year is that whenever anything major has come up, everyone quickly becomes an expert. Viruses, Governments, Lockdowns, Economies, F1 championships, European Super Leagues, etc. It’s an inbuilt human behaviour to want to know more than someone else as it’s linked to survival, but, with our slightly evolved chimp brains we have major bias in acquiring knowledge and forming opinions.
The primary bias, and given we work in advertising we know this better than most, is the single perspective bias.
Advertisers shouldn’t advertise based on their own experiences with ads, they should consider their audience experiences as broadly as possible. Keeping this open-mind and considering experiences outside of your own is critical to getting to optimal advertising/truth.
If you’re looking for a good holiday season read on how bias impacts thinking, then I highly recommend Factfulness by Hans Rosling.
The quality of your data
Other ways we create bias is based on the data we see - this is why the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. are under so much pressure right now. They literally present information to people which informs their views on the world. It’s similar with how a newspaper leans politically and how it can condition its readers.
We can always find information to support our biases - just Google your view and you’ll likely find a graph to copy and paste into a whatsapp chat.
The quality of the data is the key to informing opinion.
Holding a debate
Where this newsletter is going, and is particularly relevant as we all (hopefully in person) spend time with friends and family over Xmas is to check your biases.
I know my family and I will have many heated debates over Xmas and in the moment when I have various hormones flying around my body it’s easy to default to my biases.
But as Dale Carnegie says, the way to get the most out of an argument is to avoid it - come into every debate trying to understand the other sides perspectives first before judging them based on your own.
This will also hold you in good stead for heated programmatic debates in 2022, of which I’m sure there are going to be many!
Right, we’re nearly there, time to take a break and have some turkey! But before we do that, if you want to get on the front foot for next year it’s worth thinking about clean rooms if you haven’t already.
TPA created a series on clean rooms here - https://theprogrammaticadvisory.com/blog-data-clean-rooms-series/
And I recorded a podcast with the brilliant Tim Norris-Wiles from Habu - www.theadpod.com