When was the last time you forgot a person’s name? And did you forget that person’s face?
People remember faces.
Like these 2 ‘stachioed fellas:
So maybe better than the age old client cry of ‘Make my logo bigger’, we should hear more cries of ‘Make my moustachio bigger’.
Is that good branding? — using memorable faces?
Well, bring in a catchy tune…because music goes straight for the amygdala — that bit of the brain that processes emotional reactions, and in that 118-118 ad, you have yourself a market leader in directory enquiry numbers.
Though maybe moustachioed actors are overworked:
…there are probably non-moustachio ways of making good use of the special place the human face has in our brains.
And in the marketer’s toolbox, there are seemingly fancier techniques than throwing in a memorable face and a catchy tune:
You can ask people’s subconsciouses what they’re thinking:
Recently, a politician in South America upped his approval rating 20% by making changes in his campaign, based on brain activity data collected through swimming-cap-type things that wired people’s heads to a computer while they watched the politician’s campaign videos*…
…kind of like focus group analysis, but instead of talking with the confused 5% brain activity of the conscious mind, the swimming-cap technique is about listening to the unconscious mind.
That might seem like fancy technology. But brain science is in its infancy.
The potential of brain science might seem scary to some: because we are so driven by our unconscious minds. What will governments and marketers make us do!?
They might make us eat more burgers. And do other stuff too. Another day, I’ll maybe see if I can cobble together a critique along those lines.
But brain science can be used in good ways. In one study, a cafeteria reduced average calorific intake by 30% by simply switching round what foods people saw first, and switching to smaller plates.*
And if brain science is part of our current renaissance, we can all benefit. We don’t have to be pecked to death by the powerful.
We can dive in, learn, and be more powerful ourselves.
But how much use will we make of this knowledge; these tools…?
Well, if the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, we can ask: how often do you see marketing material that just doesn’t hit the button?
Here are some words that Seth Godin listed out on his blog:
a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
…there’s a bag of simple tools. And in that list is every word that is in the brilliant Green Eggs and Ham.
We can do brilliant things with plain old tools.
But equally, we can’t ignore the new things that are happening in brain science, in technology, and in other areas. There’s so much we don’t yet know, and we need to make the best use of the best tools so we can deal with all the stuff going on on our planet.
Will we do that? And is past behavior the guide?
…more media coverage of war, violence, and corruption might lead us to believe that there’s more of it today. And more talk of the decline of moral standards might not help.
But we no longer blow our noses on the tablecloth (as I hear they did in the olden days), and per population, war and violence has declined. Steven Pinker reckons that as well as being safer today, we’re also nicer to each other than we used to be, and he has the empirical evidence to back that up.
So maybe past behavior is not the absolute predictor of future behavior. And if we all get a bit wiser in our renaissance; if we become more aware of how our brains tick, maybe that awareness will help us shift more of our brain activity away from our reptilian fight-or-flight neurons, and to our human, creative, imaginative, cooperative, intuitive, logic neurons.
When those neurons get excited, they drive us to smile, to do good things with and for other people. That’s good for businesses. There are rewards for marketers who help guide people towards good. And it’s good at the level of govern-mental policy, too.
We’ve all got our heads in the same soup: the collective consciousness…
…there’s nothing quite like a fresh green egg and a wedge of succulent ham, but to fix the problems, maybe we also need to learn some more about the tool that can blend the soup so it tastes better.
The human brain can do that.
*References to be added in.
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