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(Re)defining Doll Brands Through Human Fundamentals


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This pioneering research redefines the way we market dolls. Artificial segmentations based on personality differences offer weak foundations on which to build brand strategies. To deeply engage us, a brand must have a solid inner architecture deeply rooted in the fundamentals of humanity. Beneath all the phantasmagoria of global marketing communication, lies order and rhythm, the source code of our human behaviour.

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(Re)defining Doll Brands Through Human Fundamentals

  2. 2. Hi! My name is Constantinos Pantidos and I believe that companies could improve people’s lives even more effectively if they had deeper human insight.
  3. 3. For consumer satisfaction to be as complete as possible, we must take care not only of the needs consumers understand and are able to evaluate but also and especially the ones they are not consciously aware of
  4. 4. While 95% of our purchase decision making takes place in our unconscious, we tend to spend a disproportionally high time on product characteristics and price and promotions because they are easier to grasp
  5. 5. Instead, this presentation delves into the unconscious mind of the consumer, the 95% that really matters, and makes it possible for marketers to build irresistible brands
  6. 6. Biological Value Brain & Body Systems Cognitive Operations Psychological States Human Morality Behaviour Rewards Engagement The pathways of human behaviour While the models for shaping brand strategy used by most multinationals today ignore the contribution of modern sciences such as neurobiology and cognitive science, BRAND AVIATORS™ use a comprehensive model having an evolutionary foundation and a multidisciplinary approach enabling marketers to build consumer propositions that are impossible to resist
  7. 7. Our psyche consists of a code
  8. 8. We are an ordered pattern of fundamental motives capable of generating life
  9. 9. Having captured our fundamental human motives, the irreducible parts of our nature, all the way from their biological values, to the inherent concepts they imbue into our everyday life, this model traces emotions from their roots, and creates concepts that bear the freshness of the source. CONNECT CONTROL The wheel of motives™ GROW CARE BALANCE DESIRE FEEL SAFE SEEK PLAY CREATE DEFY TRANSFORM TM
  10. 10. Motive Main biological advantages / survival value Possible neurosystems involved Examples of cognitive operations Main psychological states Main sociocultural manifestations and reinforcers Feel safe Detection of threats, Dissipation of fears, Endurance via rewards, Creation of optimism that facilitates success Reward systems (opioid neurosystems that induce a sensation of pleasure and suppress pain), Fear dampening systems, Defensive system Retrospection, Reminiscence, Comfort and enjoyment, Believing, Increasing positive emotions, Constancy, Coping, Resolution of emotional conflict, Incognisance, Anthropomorphism Stability, Regression, Renewal, Nostalgia, Daydreaming, Comfort, Hope, Happiness, Satiety, Plenitude, Joy, Bliss, Instant gratification, Reward, Perfectionism Postponement, Shame, Guilt, Humbleness, Self- sacrifice, Narcissism Belief systems such as religion, Morality, Ethics, Mores, Folkway, Tradition, Authenticity Example: the pathways of our motive to feel safe.
  11. 11. Successful brands coherently express the very patterns of our psyche
  12. 12. * A book will shortly be published, extensively analysing the motives underpinning 20 categories of everyday consumer goods and our fundamental human motives. It puts forward the most integrated platform for engaging people to date. The motives for buying dolls are presented in a summarised form in order of increasing relative importance in line with their power to influence our buying decisions *
  13. 13. PLAYFULNESS: On an initial layer of motivation we buy dolls because they entertain us, make us laugh. Dolls, through their intense lives, show us how beautiful life really is, how good humour abounds.
  14. 14. ATTRACTION: More significantly, dolls are beautiful. We want to be like them, to be dolls made flesh. Adored. Wanted. Being the alter ego of the doll, the little girl thinks of herself as a marvelous doll: “I’m what everyone wants”.
  15. 15. The Barbie doll, the leading doll in the world represents the symbolic (and biological) ideal of the perfect woman
  16. 16. Deep down Barbie is a fertility doll, embodying some of the timeless functions of a doll
  17. 17. EMPOWERMENT: Dolls are objects with a will to live. As the image that constitutes an object of veneration and adoration soon becomes an idol, what we actually project onto our dolls are our own goals.
  18. 18. Dolls become an exalted sense of human potentiality, an attempt “to negotiate with gods” - and when we attempt something big, it is hard to fail completely.
  19. 19. CONTROL: On a deeper level, dolls are passive and obedient and inspire the power to develop order and enforce rules. In proximity to them one feels important instead of being a minor player.
  20. 20. Children take their position in the rank of life, they become rulers like their mothers. At the same time, dolls are role models that instruct us about the values of society, tending towards the normalization of experience and the standardization of ideals.
  21. 21. COMPANIONSHIP: Moving closer to the dominant motives, dolls answer our need for human company. People have always sought animate companions (pets, robots).
  22. 22. Children know that dolls are not alive which helps them to grasp the illusion of companionship without the burden of a friendship
  23. 23. We are sure that dolls will never reveal our secrets, as they are our “little confidents”. In fulfilling the role of a passive substitute, dolls allow children to play and free themselves of their passive dependence upon adults.
  24. 24. DESTRUCTION: Having identified themselves in dolls, and by transferring any negative feeling (aggressiveness, threatening thoughts etc.) on to them, children are liberated from all the “bads”.
  25. 25. Through transferring her negative feelings on to the doll and even destroying it, the child confirms her own existence
  26. 26. This transference bestows a sense of comfort onto the child as she can now rely on a self-composed universe, something that the outer world cannot and does not provide.
  27. 27. Dolls exist on the threshold of life and death. We become confused and scared when we are exposed to a not-quite- living thing, our mind not knowing exactly how to proceed.
  28. 28. Dolls are reminders of mortality, but playing in a safe environment, even the most monstrous of them exercise a profound attraction enveloping their presence with mystery and helping us to cope with the unexpected - the fear of death being itself a survival mechanism.
  29. 29. The habit of playing with dolls, is a strong influence that modifies our taste. The child is initiated into taste and preferences as a doll-dressed baby, further developing her tastes and preferences on her baby-dressed dolls.
  30. 30. CREATION: One of the deepest motives for buying dolls is their capacity to help us create opportunities to actually express ourselves. Dolls need names, clothes, houses, beds, a hairdo, and a life.
  31. 31. As a true demiurge, the child succeeds in transforming the thing (doll) into a being. And this creation will often - in the child’s eyes - be more real than the beings with whom he or she stands alongside, because dolls are more accessible, more entirely her, more present.
  32. 32. ESCAPE: Dolls liberate us from space and time, they take us out of the prison of reality where customary logic dominates, and thus no logic applies. Going a little further each time, we discover things about the universe and ourselves.
  33. 33. It is through exercising inner tendencies, and manipulating, improvising and discovering that children and adults alike explore their own character. Seeing alternatives can be promising as well as frightening.
  34. 34. CARE: On a yet more profound level, small and helpless, dolls, inspire tenderness and fondness in us. They need our loving care to survive. The more one seems to need us, the more we love him/her.
  35. 35. Neotenous (from the Greek for “stretch” or “extend”) characteristics (large head, large eyes), make sure that dolls look cute, and as a result, elicit our care giving instincts.
  36. 36. Caring and nurturing for another being is inherent in human beings and stronger in human infants. Younger brothers and sisters, dolls and pets can help fulfil our caregiver needs.
  37. 37. SECURITY: The doll is a “portable mother” that ensures the child’s safety when the real mother is not there. Children, at some point, come to understand that they are separate beings from their mothers, and at this stage, it is dolls that console.
  38. 38. This infantile attachment to security-giving objects will accompany us throughout our life unless we understand that the causes of phobias are never actually the result of our environment. We survive by creating a private reassuring world of our own that helps us keep our emotional nature alive.
  39. 39. The private life created by a doll offers the illusion of continuity where nothing changes, where there is anchorage reassurance that everything is ok
  40. 40. Something inanimate always approximates an ideal surpassing something living. There is a sense of freshness in playing with dolls.
  41. 41. Being raised in a non-tactile society we have to compensate with nonhuman creatures and objects, first with teddy bears and blankets then with pets. Comfort gives the illusion of security.
  42. 42. In the case of mannequin dolls, connotations of ascetic withdrawal are connected to the belief in an ideal world where we can reach the stars or marry a wealthy and handsome prince, or a god like our father.
  43. 43. Deep down they also embody the pursuit of something “sacred” where we strive to achieve perfection and the visible ideal (the perfect body), representing the innocent prisoner in us. Anything existing outside of this ideal world that becomes a religion, i.e. what is not shared, is something filthy in need of cleansing.
  44. 44. TRANSITION: on the innermost level of human motivation, a doll is never merely a physical phenomenon. Living on the threshold of life, a doll suggests that it is both alive and not alive. Dolls suddenly become alive, they talk with a human voice, reach, and exceed human existence.
  45. 45. Objects given life, more material and more spiritual at the same time than humans, dolls become captivating incarnations of anyone and anything we please.
  46. 46. Simultaneously objects and subjects over whom we never manage to become masters, dolls do not just represent reality, they are the reality
  47. 47. The vacuity of dolls becomes the loyal mirror of all human mind operations. Neither merely objects nor just thoughts, dolls are “self- objects” which oscillate amongst the timeless, universal, and profound human feelings. Thanks to this projection, children become aware of themselves and of others.
  48. 48. The persona we give to the doll influences us towards becoming that persona. Living on the threshold of life, the verge of humanity, dolls are witches, masters of metamorphoses. They continuously change personality, according to our mood. Sometimes they are docile, sometimes aggressive and absurd. We mirror dolls, which mirror us. We lend them our soul.
  49. 49. * In some cases, the same brand can be manifested in different ways in different countries Leading brands express the fundamental human motives driving their category *
  50. 50. Deep category understanding is just the first step in creating engaging narratives. To build a proposition that is both authentic and deeply engaging, the brand must germinate the bare motives that drive the category in a unique and profoundly human way.
  51. 51. CONNECT CONTROL The wheel of motives™ GROW CARE BALANCE DESIRE FEEL SAFE SEEK PLAY CREATE DEFY TRANSFORM TM The Wheel Of Motives™ can help us activate the unique codes of a brand, those that engage people at a profound human level based on a three-phase methodology * * For the complete theory about how the fundamental human motives work please contact the author or wait until the publishing of the book
  52. 52. Phase 1: Psychographic mapping • Mapping the meaning people derive from the category • Deconstructing the meaning systems of the brands • Tracing underexploited territories and meaning- saturated areas
  53. 53. Phase 2: Brand (re)definition • Liberating the core of the brand from its nonessential elements • Mobilising the core to give a unique answer to what consumers have always wanted from the category
  54. 54. Phase 3: The unique language of the brand • Imprinting brand strategy into our fundamental human motives, the roots of human communication • Translating brand strategy into Intrinsically Engaging Narratives™ - tangible and ownable experiences based on the profound code
  55. 55. To capture the deep resonances that make a brand successful, and its consonances with the category, a profound knowledge of the rich hierarchies of inherent concepts of our mind, and their underground connections, is required.
  56. 56. In tracing the pathways our mind uses to create reality and by activating the very forces of life, The Wheel Of Motives™ offers considerable advantages over the brand strategy models used by multinational companies today. Brands and concepts developed through The Wheel Of Motives™ are heartfelt, and profound.
  57. 57. Above all, by founding brand strategy on our fundamental human motives the brand becomes deeply humanistic in that it offers holistic, universal experiences that no longer simply satisfy some individual needs but the needs of the species
  58. 58. BRAND AVIATORS™ are trusted by some of the world’s leading companies:
  59. 59. (Re)define your brand through the human fundamentals if you seek to: • Deeply engage people locally and across cultures • Develop genuine concepts that work year after year after year • Align all brand communications under one master idea • Increase the ROI of all your brand’s activities
  60. 60. My mission is to help clients around the world build brands that liberate the very forces of life. Contact me now for a free discovery audit at or by clicking on the icon: BRAND AVIATORS™ Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX +44 (0) 203 693 3933