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What advisers are saying: Likenomics in the new world

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Last time I renewed my phone contract Vodafone offered the best tariff. But I stuck with Orange. The thing is, I can’t help but associate Vodafone with Manchester United (even though that sponsorship deal ran its course seven years ago!).

I, of course, justified the decision based on long-term contract tenure benefits and other such nonsense that had nothing to do with it in truth but made me feel better about the fact that I just quite like Orange (less so Kevin Bacon’s EE but I’ve got another 9 months to go now). Truth is, likeability, however fluffy a metric, is a powerful force.

People, as a general rule, aren’t looking to optimise the decisions they make; they are looking to simplify them. But despite the enormous body of knowledge that exists around how we short-cut, simplify and post-rationalise our decision-making, the way we go about marketing to, communicating with and understanding consumers (and advisers) continues to ignore these realities.

We still, by and large, look to understand people on some kind of mythical ‘journey’ towards purchasing, where they become aware of our product/service, build knowledge, foster desire and then act.

We still ask people why they did things, accepting verbatim as truth the rationalisations they give us. And we persist in presenting rational arguments to people in order to convince them to buy us and our stuff.

It’s about understanding people as they behave, not solely via their rationalisations before or after.

Adviser research we have just carried out revealed a significant difference between what advisers say is important and what really affects their choice of provider/platform. For instance, consultant likeability has a much bigger impact on propensity to do business with a provider than advisers claim. Advisers may not like to admit it in the world of stringent due diligence requirements,  but the extent to which advisers ‘like’ certain individuals within a provider has a massive impact on whether they will continue to use them in the future.

Here’s why this matters. It’s not enough to just be good at what you do. Modern brands must be human, trustworthy, and likeable. Bhargava, author of “Likeonomics: the unexpected truth behind earning trust, Influencing behavior, and inspiring action”, points to what he calls the “likeability gap” – the difference between what people will do because they have to and what they’ll do because they want to. Because In the end, we do business and build relationships with people we like.

Phil Wickenden is managing director of So Here’s The Plan phil@soherestheplan.com

Extracts from IFA interviews…

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  1. Phil. You’re not the only person who won’t use Vodaphone because they are a Man utd brand, even after seven years.

    Give me O2 any day.

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