Pixar’s movie Inside Out got a lot of the ideas about how the human mind works basically right. In particular, it shows us that it’s our core memories that make us who we are. Continue reading
Are you, at the core of your identity, the same person that you were yesterday? Last year? The day you were born? The sense of Self that persists over time may be an illusion—but it’s also a mathematical property of your brain.
Many marketers might reject out-of-hand the idea that there could be a standard, intuitive frame-of-reference for thinking about brands, ads, audiences and media content in an integrated way. But the biology of our memory systems suggests otherwise.
This infographic is a quick review of some of the ideas I’ve been working through in blogs past and future.
Introducing a new product is normally a challenging communication problem but doing so in a category that many in your audience have never heard of before makes the job twice as hard. That’s the problem the Seattle start-up Chefsteps faced a couple of years ago when they launched their new precision cooking tool, Joule.
Imagine you’ve been invited to a glittering Hollywood party full of lots of interesting people. Your Media host welcomes you at the door and looks around at the different circles of conversation going on, trying to decide which group to introduce you to—and then it’s up to you, the Advertiser, to figure out how to break into the conversation, and make a memorable impression.
If you are running a restaurant, you have basically 3 marketing levers that you can use to drive your brand. Which lever should you pull? It depends in part on which ones your competitors are pulling.
Our ability to form analogies and generate metaphors is useful for more than just writing poetry or creating great print ads. It’s also the secret to how the head thinks about the hidden relationships between things and how our memories are turned into images of things that do not exist by our imagination.Continue reading
According to some historians, the cognitive revolution occurred about 70,000 years ago, when some glitch happened in the brain so that humans first learned to gossip and tell stories about each other. That’s when we learned to swap memories with each other—and culture-building cloud computing Version 1.0 was invented.
The restless hand moves erratically, jerking and flailing in the space in front of the small face, squinty eyes, fingers clenched in a fist, arm stirring like a stick poking at a fire. Someday, that same little hand might hold a surgeon’s scalpel, or a painter’s brush, or the bow of a violin. How does the brain learn to operate the body in a world filled with action?
With the arrival of virtual reality technology, the Star Trek Holodeck does not appear to be so far into the future. The Holodeck is a good, new metaphor for the human imagination, aka Memory Theater.
In face-to-face communication, two human beings continuously react and adapt to the content of non-verbal signals in our facial expressions. For example, a good salesperson will adapt her sales pitch, in mid-stream, based on the emotional responses played back from the prospect’s face. In the future robots will be able to do the same thing—but right now they are still Artificial Infants.
Thanks to the rapid growth in technology, the advertising research ecosystem is expanding with a bewildering variety of new ideas and methods. Users just want to know, “Which is the right approach for the job I want it to do?”
For the Experiencer Self, each “now” is equally important, while the Remembered Self focuses on peaks and endings. So, how do you decide which moment is the right time to take a Selfie?
Imagine you were going to make a documentary called, “A Day of My Life.” How would you do it?
The meaning of an image is determined by layers of memories that filter our perceptions. An image must be interpreted in the context of an ad, and an ad in the context of a program, and a program in the context of a culture.
There were two main ideas in Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s best-selling book Thinking Fast and Slow. The first idea was that there are two modes of thinking—System 1 versus System 2. The second was the distinction between our Experiencing Self and our Remembered Self. By putting these two ideas together, you get a nice framework for thinking about the difference between Brand Positioning and Brand Image.
A brand’s “image” is an attempt to project a coherent identity, with a unique personality and distinctive style. A brand’s “positioning” is an attempt to “own” one or two key words in the mind of the consumer that sets your brand apart from your competitors. These are two sides of the same coin. While a picture may be worth a thousand words— a word is also worth a thousand pictures.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, in the age of micro-targeting, it becomes more than a problem of casting; it’s also a problem of measurement.
Much of marketing activity, especially advertising and media, is based on targeting by age cohort—the Silent Generation, Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and now Generation Z. The reason for this is that these groups share memories that lie at the core of each group’s self-identity—which is predictably caused by the memory bump.
The ability to see something from someone else’s point-of-view is the basis of empathy. Being able to shift your point-of-view is also the essence of thinking like a marketer.
When you are creating an ad, the first job is getting the attention of your target audience. Attention is the search engine that drives top-of-mind brand awareness, which, drives sales. How, then, does “attention” work?
In each moment of our lives a tremendous amount of information comes at us, and the conscious mind has the capacity to process only a tiny fraction of it. That is what is driving the current interest advertisers have in understanding the differences between System 1 (unconscious) versus System 2 (conscious) processing of information. But the real question is, “How does the unconscious mind decide what information to let into our consciousness?”
At its core, Facebook is not just a social network. It’s also an elegant self-reporting measurement system for decoding users’ cognitive process as you scroll through your timeline. The data Facebook collects (one level up) has a parallel information structure to the same three measures Ameritest collects to predict the images consumers will remember from the ads we test.
Surprise lies at the intersection of memory and information, at the boundary between our inner world of expectations and the outer reality to which we must constantly adapt. Surprise is the emotional engine that drives storytelling forward.
In playing the game of marketing, it’s important to understand the hierarchy of information operating in an economic system, and what information is relevant to the decisions that have to be made at each level of the game. When playing the game, you must shift down a level for diagnostic insights, and you must shift up a level for context.
Those of us who work in advertising can define our business in many ways– from the simple idea of creating sales messaging to the more complex idea of building brand relationships, to the modern techno-mantra of feeding the sales funnel. My own definition is more consumer-centric: advertising is the business of manufacturing memories.
In the game-world of the HBO series Westworld, AI-driven robots can pass the famous Turing test by simulating human emotions and human behavior so well that the human players in the game pretend that the robots are human. The real thing that makes the robots less than human is that they don’t have long-term memories.
“Expectation” and “anticipation” are concepts that describe forward-looking memories; both are linked to future actions. The difference, however, is that anticipation is an expectation with an uncertainty attached.
The secret to building a successful brand experience is understanding customer expectations. If you meet expectations, you will have a satisfied customer. But if you exceed expectations, you can turn a customer into a brand advocate. It’s easy for advertising to promise the first, but hard to communicate the second. The reason is that “expectation” is just another word for “memory.”
Our high-tech Wizards have already invented much of the magic imagined by J.K. Rowling—the magic map used by Harry now looks strikingly similar to the map on our Uber app. Many in advertising think Zuckerberg invented a magical form of Television. He didn’t. He reinvented Print and Out-of-Home advertising.