The Algorithm isn’t a moral code.

I have created an astonishing algorithm, which provides huge insights into the minds of almost any target audience. It is based on three core principles, Koine Aisthesisin – Gnosis – Experientia.

Forgive the words  – if I’m to sell this as the next big thing, I have to make it pretty complicated. Meanwhile, Common Sense, Knowledge and Experience have generally led most people to recognise Les Flanneurs when we see them. Most of them are harmless, but just sometimes, the Flanneur steps off his or her turf and moves into marketing. Here, they must fight tooth and nail to get the Cola McBurger budget and to that end, they need to constantly create some new Legere de Main. In the 90s, it was, for example, The Nielsen Claritas PRIZM, which gave us such memorable target groups as “Shotguns and Pickups” and “Blue-Blood Estates.” More recently I have read about another, eight similar or different (who knows)  personality types or segments: Alive & Intense – Ambitious – At Peace – Maxed – Me & Mine – Meticulous – Renaissance – Traditional.

Phew. I thought I was going to have to sell something to the Shotguns and Pickup, but now I can discount it to the Maxed. At this level, of course, someone was going to come along one day and say: “I can do this for individuals not just postcodes. All I need is to know how many likes they’ve given Adolf Hitler’s Facebook Page and Dislikes to Hilary Clinton and I can tell you who they’re going to vote for.” Really? How much. “Millions” came the reply and thus it came to pass. The OE Flanneur created a wondrous new thing and it could nail anyone right down to being a Xenophobic Socialist with a penchant for slaughtering children in their cots whilst eating a Burger King because they hated Subway and because they were an introvert with LGBT tendencies! And somebody believed them.

Common sense lay at the heart of Damon Runyan’s observations when he suggested that:

“Someday, somewhere, a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is never broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that the jack of spades will jump out of this deck and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not bet him, for as sure as you do – you are going to get an ear full of cider.”

Which brings me neatly to the subject of Trust. I might have mentioned it before, but in the whacky world of PR, nobody does it better than Edelmann, apart from, possibly, me. One of the things the world’s largest PR company does is to produce an annual “Trust Barometer”. This is what they had to say in 2017.

“The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that trust is in crisis around the world. The general population’s trust in all four key institutions — business, government, NGOs, and media — has declined broadly, a phenomenon not reported since Edelman began tracking trust among this segment in 2012.

With the fall of trust, the majority of respondents now lack full belief that the overall system is working for them. In this climate, people’s societal and economic concerns, including globalization, the pace of innovation and eroding social values, turn into fears, spurring the rise of populist actions now playing out in several Western-style democracies.

To rebuild trust and restore faith in the system, institutions must step outside of their traditional roles and work toward a new, more integrated operating model that puts people — and the addressing of their fears — at the center of everything they do.”

The 2018 Report continued in much the same vein:

The 2018 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER reveals a world of seemingly stagnant distrust. People’s trust in business, government, NGOs and media remained largely unchanged from 2017 — 20 of 28 markets surveyed now lie in distruster territory, up one from last year. Yet dramatic shifts are taking place at the market level and within the institution of media.

Part of that “dramatic shift” was a growing and quite distinctive global distrust of search engines, (or Google as it is known), and social media (in the main, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram”). More importantly, that dramatic shift was witnessed and recorded, (I would estimate), at least three months before the discovery that Cambridge Arselick had behaved immorally and Facebook had behaved stupidly. Indignation could be found on every front page and in every leader column. An implied and very smug “told you so” could be seen on the liberal, metropolitan-elite faces of the London-based Sky News readers. “There,” they silently said. “We told you the Leavers didn’t know what they were doing! Now we have PROOF that what little grey matter the great Northern unwashed possessed, had been psychometrically altered by an Old Etonian.”

WRONG. It is a convenient nonsense to believe that the US election and the Leave Remain Referendum and The Corbyn election and the extreme weather and the abuse of Mandrake Root by child wizards are all down to Facebook and the science of Psychographics………. except it really, honestly, trust me …….. doesn’t work.

Here is a valuable insight, which is based on the KAGE system. In developed, democratic, countries poor people don’t want to be poor. Very Rich people don’t, in the main, want to lose a lot of money helping the poor. Everyone else is in the middle and, in the main, would be delighted to win The Lottery and/or keep their job for another year and/or get to go on holiday. Oh yes… everybody likes some form of sex and everybody has aspirations to get better holidays, houses, cars, more sex and jobs, not necessarily in that order. Young people go through spells of despising the elderly, then they love them when they realise there might be an inheritance. Elderly people go through spells of hating everything and that doesn’t tend to get better. However, what people won’t put up with are their Governments and global brands being sneaky. Worse still they really don’t like being patronised and corporations to treat them like assets. Thanks to the Internet they have the ability to do something about it. I don’t like it much – and yes I think we can all be manipulated. But it isn’t as a result of an algorithm, it’s because I’m human.

That will be £4bn, please. Less if you don’t want the KAGE app (see above for Acronym) that says just that – but with flashing lights.

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Nick Boyd

Nick Boyd

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