This week Warc is attending the Asia Marketing Effectiveness Festival in Shanghai. The Festival is Asia's leading event for all things effectiveness, and this year it has split the two-day programme into an international section and an Asia-focused section. Thursday was the international day, and saw a series of interesting thinkers from overseas present their latest research on marketing effectiveness.
Many of the speakers need no introduction to the Warc audience. Ogilvy's Rory Sutherland presented his ideas on behavioural economics, Mark Earls talked about his Herd theories and consultant Peter Field presented the research he has done into the IPA case study archive and the power of creativity.
One point hit home time and again - the power of emotional appeals in marketing over rational ones. Field's research suggests that emotional marketing is almost twice as effective as rational, and the talks by both Sutherland and Earls referred to the unconscious triggers that make us act the way we do.
So how did it go down? The Field presentation must have gone down well, judging by the number of people whipping their iPhones out to take pictures of his slides. One marketer afterwards said he had learned a lot about the power of emotion.
However, the talks were undoubtedly UK-centric, and that raised a few questions. One senior planning director questioned Field's insistence that awareness is less important than fame (or buzz) as a marketing metric. His point was that in markets like India, where many categories are still educating consumers about their benefits, there is a direct link between rising awareness and sales growth. For many brands, these are not yet markets in which they have to worry too much about differentiation.
Another comment from a regional planning director concerned Earls' Herd theory. His criticism: what in the West, a society built around individualism, seems disruptive, simply seems like stating the obvious in a more collectively-minded society such as China.
On Friday the focus shifts to Asia - watch out for another update on the Warc blog, and a full conference report next week.