Archive Page 2

Brain “Buy” Pass

Consumers don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say. – David Ogilvy

Summary of Brain Sells by Gemma Calvert, Director of Neurosense, RSA Journal Winter 2011

Neuroscientific research shows us that a vast amount of our decision making is governed by processes outside of our conscious awareness (see also Damasio).  Much of these are influenced by our emotional brain: “by how [we] implicitly feel, rather than how we think.”  This coupled with our unnerving ability to post-rationalise decisions makes it very difficult for manufacturers and marketers to really know what drives consumer choice.

Enter neuromarketing – the emerging science of what happens in the brain to understand consumer behaviour.  Neurosense is pioneering this technology to help manufacturers measure unconscious responses to a vast range of new products:

This, in turn, helps them understand how to communicate the products emotional benefits most effectively to consumers…. this information helps design better products that meet consumer’s underlying needs.

For example, we don’t buy toothpaste because it provides 30% more whitening (feature) but because we believe this will make us feel better about ourselves and more confident.

Over the past ten years, extensive research has found that implicit responses are often better at predicting our subsequent behaviour than explicit attitudes.

This science can now measure how well frames in a commercial are absorbed and whether some of these changes can stimulate the brain’s reward areas.  The range of emotions that they can measure include: trust, anticipation (of price), empathy and brand loyalty, to name a few.

These marketers are measuring things like the “right” amount of sound to be heard in a car.  Consumers want quietness – except when they accelerate, they like to hear the “roar”.  They also look at people’s response to touch and smell, both highly stimulating of emotional brain areas, though often processed unconsciously.  I will leave you with this interesting example:

The French government commissioned some research to assess the impact of anti smoking campaigns.  They found that the “Smoking Kills” logos offered no further deterrent because they stimulated the brains guilt response that is highly correlated to the area that craves nicotine.  (I think the cigarette companies probably already knew that…) So next time you think you are making a rational decision, you may be wise to think again.


Learning How to Learn

Accelerated Learning Comes Down to Attitude:

A recent study at Michigan State University has revealed that those who believe in learning, learn faster.  This means that attitude may be as importance as ability in the learning process.

Tracking electrical impulses in the brain has allowed researches to identify two responses to learning: One, the moment of awareness and; Two; what to do with that awareness.  Those that believed intelligence to be pliable put more “brain energy” into learning and so improved.

The good news is that this attitude or approach can also be developed, we can learn how to learn.  How? By focusing on the process, rather than the outcome.  Or concentrating on the “throw,” rather than the “catch.”  And that approach may be even more important than the skill itself.

see: The Oops! Response by MW Moyer

The Irony of Teams

High performing teams are given credit for being the element that sets businesses apart.  It is often said that the challenges and complexities of todays world require the effective working of teams.  Ironically, if we look at what is celebrated, collaboration tends to get a left out?   At work, bonuses are divided between exceptionally perfomring individuals, and rarely to teams.  In school, it is an individual’s performance that is accredited and recognised.  In fact, for most of my schooling, outside of drama and sport, team work was not a featured part of the way that we were schooled.

My experience in schools today does not provide me with much evidence that this has changed.  Yet it is that sense of something bigger than oneself that encourages me to put that extra piece in for the team.  And this trait is not one that is encouraged in much of the school environment.

Does your kid’s school have team assessed work?

Does it have collaborative opportunities, whether they be sport, drama or somekind of project work?

If not, I would encourage them to find ways of making meaningful contributions to group projects.  Of course we all learn on the job, but work is still pluaged by an individualistic culture. Of course Rand would argue the benefits of this, and systemically, we are encouraged to celebrate our personal success.  However, it is effective colloboration that gives organisations the edge.

Ironically, accorrding to Katzenbach, it is not teams for teams sake that drives successful collaboration, but goals that require team inputs that forge successful teams.

Communication is the means by which you manage change

Communicate well, and you will manage change well.

Communicate badly and the change will go badly.

Either way, change will happen.

How would you like it to go?


Here is a link to a test put together by the University of Cambridge on reading emotions.

Top 5 Winning Features of Successful Advertising Agencies

Below are the Top 5 Winning Features of advertising agencies that consistently won new business. The study was done a few years ago by Peter Rogen, but the ideas are as valuable today as they were then. There are more features in the book, but these top five will give you an idea of whether your leadership has got what it takes.  This is a condensed version from The Pitch Doctor, by Neil Flett of RogenSi:

1. Successful organisations had a leader with a clear vision of what the company could become in three to four years. The study showed that this vision could be so strong that the leader could picture the company at that time, its people, its positioning, its products and its profitability.

2. The leader had an extremely strong level of intention – a desire to get there and a sense of urgency to make it happen sooner rather than later.  This is a classic leader feature and definitely crucial, but in isolation is not enough…

3. The study showed that an effective leader built a team of three to four people who shared the vision and had the same high set of values. Not only did these people share these values, but the expounded them persuasively to the rest of the team.

4. The team’s first priority was always the standard of present work for clients. This is a valuable insight for anyone getting on a roll. Not only does most new business flow from existing clients in one way or another, but the client base must be strong and solid to enable the diverting of team effort to new business.

5. A new business plan was then formulated which had:
a) A philosophy;
b) Goals;
c) Honest acceptance of strengths and weaknesses;
d) Criteria for prospective clients;
e) Key prospects;
f) Key people assigned to key prospects. By allocating team members to ‘tag’ prospects, organisations were ready when a pitch occurred. There was at least one key person in the team already familiar with the prospect’s business, problems and opportunities. It was not a last minute rush to research the business in a week; and
g) Resources were allocated.

The list goes on, but it would be prudent for SME’s to keep these strategies in mind as they look to grow their companies. Again, it places an emphasis on current clients for business, knowing how hard it is to generate new business.


A Presentation on ProcessWork

Here is a very basic presentation to Process Work. I am running an introductory workshop on it tomorrow at UK Mediation Academy for the Professional Mediators Association.

It’s the tip of the iceberg of how people can start to change the way they look at situations in order to grow through them.