government expenditure and MPs expenses to internal documents on a
whole range of policy issues. These new freedoms to demand information
combine with mass communications and the Internet to exponentially
increase not just access but also the magnication of ideas and stories into
the public consciousness.
The result is a profound shift in our assumptions of trust and our placing
of faith. Whereas before people assumed a sort of blind faith or trust in
people like MPs by wont of their position, this has now gone. Many have
called this a move from an age of deference to the age of reference.
In the past, we would have chosen the path of least eort by deferring to
those in positions of authority or power. Now, we often arm ourselves with
information about their performance, their credentials and learn about
the details of a particular issue. Doctors frequently bemoan the fact that
patients come armed with information gleaned from the Internet on their
range of real and imagined health problems. Something has changed.
Blink or think?
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink (2005), glories our human ability to
process many, many pieces of information, to divine a gut feel’ almost
instantly that is usually accurate and can be trusted. Over thousands of
years of evolution, we have developed the ability to process a wide range
of social signals that we are swimming in to guide our judgements. Often
these are snap decisions about what and who to trust.
The trouble with these ‘blink’ decisions is that they can be easily
manipulated. Manipulators deliberately employ psychological and social
tricks to eect one outcome or another. Marketing is founded on these
abilities and uses them to get us to change our behaviour and buy. Almost
the rst thing you are taught as a young marketer is the power of the
single-minded benet’ and that this must be focused into advertising
that has one idea running through it. There is little room for complexity
or nuance. The well-crafted 30-second TV advert works to get us to buy

Get Why should anyone buy from you? now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.