Alchemy – By @CocoShellim

By Coco Shellim




I’ve just started reading, well, actually listening to the audio book alchemy; Rory Sutherland’s latest book. It starts of saying how we have lost the magic- how everything is down to logic and often logic is not what is needed to solve the problem. It works very well in the scientific world, but humans are not predictable, logical beings.

The example he leads with is about a soft drink. How to bring out a new drink to make more money? The obvious answer is to make the new drink cheaper, come in a bigger bottle and taste better. Exactly what all companies in this sector try to do. One company went the other way- they wanted to bring out a drink which was smaller, more expensive and tasted worse. When the market research was being conducted, most people had very negative reviews of the taste. A reoccurring response was “I wouldn’t drink this piss if you paid me”. The drink was Red Bull. 

Rory came in a little while ago and gave my favourite masterclass of SCA. He was full of insights, but made the point that the only way you can successfully change behaviour is by using human insights. One of the examples he gave was toothpaste. We are told from a young age if we don’t brush our teeth we get cavities, plaque and all other nasty stuff. No one really cares about that. Why is that, we brush our teeth before going on a date? We want our breath to smell fresh, no-one is thinking about the gum disease.

He also spoke about how to reframe a problem. He used an example about the Eurostar. Simply adding wifi to the train completely changes the experience- its cheap and easy to do. You don’t need to do a whole sexy revamp of the train. Just add a small change which transforms the way people think of the product.

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