Adam Harrell of Nebo Agency: How to Get People to Listen to Facts

Neil Shorthouse presented Mr. Adam Harrell, co-founder of Nebo Agency. Nebo is a human-centered agency built for the digital world. Adam helped Nebo grow from a bootstrap startup into one of the largest independent agencies in the Southeast. He is also the author of "Creative Direction in a Digital World" — a guide to creating human-centered digital experiences — which was published by CRC Press in 2016. In 2014, Adam ran a program to get kids excited about being entrepreneurial – Operation Peace, which included teaching how to develop business plans. Adam began by stating the facts are not enough to create influence in the modern age. He used a funny but convincing story about the potato, which began being farmed in Peru in the 1500s. Many know the potato was vital to feeding the people of Ireland, but it was actually introduced into Europe in Spain, but despite the now immensely popular "French fried potato” it was centuries before it would be embraced in France. Somehow people thought potatoes to be poisonous to eat which the leaves are. Plus some knew that pigs ate potatoes. So despite rational explanations about potatoes, the French refused to eat them – proving that rational-based facts by themselves are not enough to convince people to change behavior - and this went on for 200 years! Adam introduced us to Antoine Augustin Parmentier (d.1883) who through marvelously imaginative means figured out a way to get the officially forbidden potato to be declared edible. His theories include a set of steps including how to create acceptance and affect consumer behavior, e.g., authority (by itself not enough), social proof (to create desirability), reciprocity (to create a sense of obligation), observability (to help an idea or practices become acceptable), false scarcity (creating a “must have now”). To influence decisions of any kind, including purchasing products, Adam noted that there are more screens and platforms than ever before. Attention and trust are the scarcest resources. So Nebo helps brands tell great stories and craft experiences that resonate with audiences to drive measurable results. He emphasized creating digital experiences that empower consumers, and helping brands to get to the hearts and minds of potential customers. Ultimately, he helps build campaigns that drive awareness – which can lead to changed behavior, including decision-making about a product or an idea. Nebo has made a ‘bet’ for the long term by recently signing a ten-year lease for its offices in Atlanta’s West End.

Posted by Neil Shorthouse
October 2, 2020 2:00pm


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