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Brain-Wise Brand Strategy

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This presentation was created to bring insights from neurobiology and psychology (interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, and trauma theories in particular) to brand strategists and innovators striving for meaningful, respectful, and honoring interactions with consumers. It draws largely from the work of Daniel Siegel, renowned founder of interpersonal neurobiology, and takes a postmodern stance.

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Brain-Wise Brand Strategy

  1. 1. Brain-Wise Brand Strategy Morgan Johnson St. Edward’s University 2013
  2. 2. Let’s get started! • Experiential, “body-centered” warm-up • Steal this as a meeting-starter to optimize brain function! http://bit.ly/10F1nVZ
  3. 3. Strategy & Psychotherapy: Common Ground • Products/Services and Therapy offer: • • 2) Enhancement • • 1) Goal-Facilitation 3) Transformation First-Order Change vs. Second-Order Change • • buying a product once, as opposed to being loyal to a brand long-term Inviting consumers to interact with a brand • “co-creation of meaning” & SEC
  4. 4. Literature Review • Subcortical/Subliminal focus, Left-Brain insight/research strategies • Love affair with personality psychologists... • Stimulation; one-directional (vs. interactional) • “attributes, personality, values” ... what about feelings? • Strategists- save us #om the advertisers & marketers!
  5. 5. Starting with Strategy • “We remember what goes with what we know.” • Let’s start with a little strategy to frame our thinking, then we’ll move into neurobiology.
  6. 6. Brand--Brain • Bruce Tait • • • Strategist for Gucci The Mythic Status Brand Model “Our experience working with organizations around the world to help them better differentiate their brands su%ests that most marketers are open and eager to learn about the insights obtained #om brain science. But there seems to be a gap between theory and practice. Most clients have not seen actionable models that translate science into a tool for articulating a brand’s core meaning.” •Promise to help: •1) consumer define a new reality •2) define ourselves (internally & externally) •3) transform us so we can realize our greatest desires and avoid our greatest fears
  7. 7. Case Study: Gucci • Sparseness of words + a greater reliance on images facilitate this mythic status. • In reality, they’re just getting into the Right Brain/ limbic system, but hold that thought.
  8. 8. My Background • 1) Holistic Practice • 2) Interpersonal Neurobiology • 3) Body-Centered Therapies • 4) Postmodernism • 5) “Evidence-Based Relationship” • 6) Trauma-Informed • 7) Attachment-Informed • 8) Mindfulness-Based • 9) Alternative Practice
  9. 9. 6 Layers of Integrative Tissue • Body-Centered work • 80% of our bodies nerves are afferent (body to brain) • Depending on the strength of prior learning/repetition, top-down will hold.
  10. 10. Dan Siegel: Interpersonal Neurobiology http://bit.ly/11WYHiP
  11. 11. Let’s take a look... http://bit.ly/145U5ew
  12. 12. Brain + Mind + Relationships • Brain- neural connections throughout the body as the mechanism by which energy & information flows • Mind- the process by which we regulate energy and info. flow • Relationships- how we share energy and information • “You can actually use the focus of attention you create with your mind to direct the flow of energy and information in your nervous system so you intentionally create neural firing in new patterns.”
  13. 13. Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex • 1) Body Regulation • 2) Attuned Attention/Communication • 3) Emotional Balance • 4) Fear Modulation • 5) Response Flexibility • 6) Insight • 7) Empathy • 8) Morality • 9) Intuition
  14. 14. 1) Body Regulation • Functions of the body such as heart rate, respiration and digestion that are controlled by the nervous system. • • 100 BILLION neurons • • Equilibrium; balance of SNS & PNS Each neuron has on average 10,000 connections! Viscera- spiderweb-like neurons around the hollow organs • Send info to the middle prefrontal cortex • Brain tissue is not just in our cranium! • Heart- coherence • Gut- “gut feeling” as a neurobiological reality
  15. 15. Left Brain & Right Brain • Left Brain seeks to explain. • Right Brain seeks to describe. • e.g., trace energy and information flow • “Tell me about your relationship with your mom.”
  16. 16. 2) Attuned Attention/Comm. • When we attune to others we allow our own internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of another. • Developmental Psychology • Attunement via Attachment • • Brands can attune to consumers’ & clients’ needs. • • co-regulation of affect & co-creation of meaning How do you show that you’re attuned? I’ll go deeper into Attachment Theory for those interested in sticking around!
  17. 17. 3) Emotional Balance • “integrating the body with higher parts of the nervous system” • Healthy relationships promote integration • Even the healthiest person may be temporarily thrown off and feel out of balance, but the middle prefrontal region functions to bring us back to equilibrium. • “Resilience” • We mistake resilience for brain plasticity
  18. 18. Comparing Models • healthy mind: FACES (flexible, adaptive, coherent, • mindfulness: COAL (curiosity, openness, acceptance, energized, and stable) and love)
  19. 19. “Brain Integration” • “bringing separate things together in a functional whole” (Siegel) • things that aren’t integrated can be considered obtrusive imagery • Meditation & Coherence • Mindful Awareness • We’ve had this information since the Stone Age (6k years ago) • Facilitates brain plasticity! New
  20. 20. What does brain integration look like? • Calmness • Curiosity • Compassion • Connectedness • Confidence • Creativity • Courage • Clarity http://bit.ly/11oTN4D
  21. 21. Our Right Brains as Slaves • Consider these two sets of words/phrases: • CBT, dualism, positivism, constructivism, empiricism, Left Brain, “behaviorism-based” Brand Strategy (maybe y’all have a word for that?), structuralism, knowing, facts, yes/no or Q&A, close-ended questions • Holistic, narrative, mindfulness, postmodern, Right Brain, moment-by-moment, curious, describing, child-like, meaning, story-teller, open questions, interpret, narratives, open questions
  22. 22. 4) Fear Modulation • We unconsciously scan for safety 4x/second! • • After experiencing a frightening event, we may come to feel fear in the face of a similar situation. • • Tri%ers, aka: stimulus generalization or over-coupling The MPF region has direct connections (aka: integrative tissues) that pass down into the limbic area • • Neuroception vs. conscious perception Amygdala: “meaning making organ” When we unlearn a fear, GABA fibers grow to amygdala
  23. 23. The Nervous System • Fight/Flight/Freeze • Memory Traumatic Responses
  24. 24. The Brain Stem • The brain stem determines if fight or flight is not an option • “lack of alternatives” • e.g., things like rape, continual abuse, or even scenarios involving racism • Dissociation http://bit.ly/13Z9FfA
  25. 25. Autonomic Nervous System
  26. 26. Sympathetic--Parasympathetic
  27. 27. Memory & Cognition • Executive Function- sets us apart from other animals • 1) Planning • 2) Working Memory • 3) Attention • 4) Problem-Solving • 5) Verbal Reasoning • 6) Mental Flexibility • 7) Task Switching • 8) Initiating/Monitoring Actions
  28. 28. Memory • 1) Explicit • • Episodic (autobiographical events) • • Used to be called “declarative” Working Memory 2) Implicit • Semantic (general knowledge) • Perceptual Representation • • sensorymotor information, bodily sensations, visual imagery Motor & Cognitive Skills
  29. 29. Let’s go deeper... • Subcortical Regions • • Limbic System • unconscious • • “lizard brain” 300 million years ago Neocortex • “voice of reason” • awareness • consciousness • 200 million years ago http://bit.ly/11L8o52
  30. 30. The Limbic System • 3 Primary Parts: • 1) Thalamus: relays information from eyes, ears, skin, etc. • 2) Hippocampus: involved in memory formation • 3) Amygdala: assigns emotions to experience • “meaning-making organ” • Amygdala (feeling), Hippo. (thinking) • “Emotional memories are forever.”
  31. 31. Wonder what your hippocampus & fornix look like? http://bit.ly/bLC0Be
  32. 32. Encoding Memory • 1) Amygdala screens incoming info; • • • a) compares it to pre-existing information b) sends it to the hippocampus for processing 2) If the hippocampus doesn’t recognize the information, it alerts the body to become aroused. • if not, it becomes implicit-only format • The more the hippocampus is aroused, the more likely the info/energy will be encoded. • Stress (e.g., Cortisol, Adrenaline) literally shuts off the hippocampus
  33. 33. The Fine Line with Memory • If info comes in and the amygdala recognizes it, it may not be sent to the hippocampus for processing. • If the hippocampus doesn’t activate, the body does not become aroused/attentive, and no meaning is made. • BUT, if the amygdala is overstimulated, an inhibitory (“cut it out!”) message is sent to the hippocampus. • e.g., traumatic experiences/stress, dissociation/ why witnesses to extreme violence make a lot of errors identifying perps
  34. 34. 5) Response Flexibility • Facilitated by brain integration • Ability to think about options & pick the best one • Ability to pause before responding • • social and emotional intelligence “SNAG” consumers with familiarity + novel info/energy • S- stimulate • N- neuronal • A- activation • G- growth
  35. 35. 6) Insight • Metacognition • Creates “mental time travel” in which we connect the past to the present and the anticipated future. • Interoception • looking inward and asking what is going on in the body • facilitates insight, which associates with empathy
  36. 36. Meaning • Viktor Frankl • “A human being is a deciding being.” • “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” • “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” • Meaning is fundamentally interpersonal. • How can we activate the amygdala and hippocampus to facilitate meaning-making, conveyance of meaning, and memory formation?
  37. 37. 7) Empathy • The capacity to create “mindsight” (Daniel Siegel) images of other people's minds. • Mindsight: our human capacity to perceive the mind of the self and others • helps us get ourselves off of the autopilot of ingrained behaviors and habitual responses • the difference between saying “I am sad” and “I feel sad.” • These “you-maps” enable us to sense the internal mental stance of another person, not just to attune to their state of mind. • Mirror Neurons
  38. 38. Mirror Neurons • The “social circuitry” of the brain • SIMA Map • Cortical info driven down from mirror neurons, through the insula, into the limbic circuits, and down into the brainstem. • e.g., if someone is crying in the room, your body will shift before you are even consciously aware
  39. 39. 8) Morality • Moral reasoning seems to require the integrative capacity of the pre-frontal cortex in 2 main ways: • 1) to sense the emotional meaning of present challenges • 2) to override immediate impulses in order to create moral action in response to challenges. • Innate, evolutionary function • Neurobiological drive for higher, existential meaning
  40. 40. 9) Intuition • The pre-frontal cortex gives us access to the wisdom of the body. • This is neurobiology, not magic or hippie-dippie stuff. • Many believe this is what people mistake for god. • This region receives information from throughout the interior of the body, including the viscera, and uses this input to give us a "heart felt sense" of what to do, or a "gut feeling.” • Western/allopathic mistrust of our bodies
  41. 41. Integrating Brand Strategy • 6 layers of integrative tissues; “Top-Down” vs. “Bottom-Up” • This brain model pairs well with Severi & Ling’s (2013) Model of Brand Equity (p. 128).
  42. 42. Brand Awareness • “The durability of a brand that embedded in the customer memory” (Aaker, 1996). • What does that language say? • “embedded” (passive) vs. “encoded” (active) • Created by ongoing visibility and “enhancing familiarity and powerful associations between offerings & buying experiences” (Severi & Ling, 2013). • Let’s think about humans as a little more sophisticated than all that...
  43. 43. Brand Association • Aaker says brand association leads to memorability, which leads to loyalty. • • Also facilitates brand extension & differentiation • • Right Brain & Innovation! Created via: • • Loyalty as more than familiarity/memorability; about meaning Attitudes, Attributes, & Benefits How would the Right Brain say this? • Feelings, Stories, & Higher Meaning
  44. 44. Brand Loyalty • “[S]ymbolizes a constructive mindset toward a brand that leads to constant purchasing of the brand over time” (Aaker, ’91). • Harley & Apple studies • • Brains in religious fanatics light up the same way in the temporal lobes as consumers who report “high brand loyalty.” Two Approaches: • • • Behavioral (loyalty measured by constant purchasing) Cognitive (more than just purchasing) If it’s more than just constant purchasing & familiarity, what is it? • Feelings, Reward Circuit (behavior), & Meaning
  45. 45. Perceived Quality • “Overall perception of customers about brilliance and quality of products or services in comparing with the rivalry offerings,” (Aaker, 1991). • What sets your product/service apart from rivals? • Higher Meaning! • • e.g., Dove Campaign for Real Beauty What is “brilliance” to our brains? • FINE: Familiarity + Interaction + Novelty + Emotion
  46. 46. If you remember anything... • The brain develops on demand. • Neurons that fire together wire together. • We are more than the activities of our minds. • Bottom-Up > Top-Down • We remember what goes with what we know. • Emotional memories are forever. • Stress shuts down the hippocampus, which prevents the making of meaning.
  47. 47. Part II: Going Deeper & Experiential Activities
  48. 48. Polyvagal Theory • Vagus Nerve • longest cranial nerve • Dorsal Vagus • Ventral Vagus http://bit.ly/1aYNLuA • Trigeminal Nerve
  49. 49. Polyvagal Theory • HRV (heart rate variance) • • • Breathe in, your HR goes up (VV) Breathe out, your HR goes down (DV) Ventral Vagal myelination (18mo-2yrs) • face-to-face interaction mediates myelination • “It isn’t nature vs. nurture; it’s nature needs nurture.” -Dan Siegel
  50. 50. Attachment Theory • • Strange Situation Experiment • 4 types of attachment • Transitional Objects • Can we think about consumers & brands in these terms? • http://bit.ly/12ilQMR Mary Ainsworth Adult Attachment Interview
  51. 51. 9 Levels of Brain Integration • 1) Integration of Consciousness- linking things in time and space • 2) Vertical Integration- way circuits brought together from head to toe • 3) Horizontal Integration- right brain/left brain • 4) Memory Integration- reflection on feelings/impressions from right brain • 5) Narrative Integration- creating a story-teller of our mind • eliminates feelings of helplessness by becoming an active author • 6) State Integration- many aspects of the self/neural-firing clusters • 7) Temporal Integration- coping with uncertainty & impermanence • 8) Interpersonal Integration- alignment with another human on an emotional level • 9) Transpiration Integration- awakening to “separateness is an illusion”
  52. 52. A Little About Trauma Work • Can we look at products/services as clients needing trauma work? • SIBAM • Digging up implicitonly & organizing it in a way that makes meaning & as such reduces suffering. • Successfully navigating trauma moves us beyond.
  53. 53. SIBAM • Hold one of your products (yogurt, beer, etc.); focus: feelings/sensations > thoughts • • Sensations • • Observed behaviors- tapping foot, wiggly leg, crossed arms, breathing rate, leaning in or away Affect • • Is there an image associated with the sensation? Describe with details. Behaviors • • What? Where? How big? Tension? If it had a color? Fluid or stable? Temperature? Images • • Bottom-Up; tone: curious, playful, irrational, child-like, imaginative What feelings come up? Emotions? Anything from the past? Meaning • Meaning last! What do you make of S-A?
  54. 54. Language: Sensations • Here, we mean literally in the body, not just the sensation of the object in our hand—where does energy flow? • Is there a sensation that calls your attention? A body part? • When you hold this product, what sorts of sensations come up in your body? What sensation is most calling your attention? • What would your body like to say about/to this product? • How do you feel like moving your body in response to these feelings?
  55. 55. Language: Images • What images come up for you when you think about product/service? • If the product/service had words, what would it say? • What is nice and pleasant about the image that comes up for you when you think about the product/service? • What is uncomfortable about the image? • What does the image remind you of?
  56. 56. Language: Behavior • Process > Content • “moment-by-moment awareness” (Kabat-Zinn) • Encourage slowed-down, exaggerated gestures to show “what the body wants to do” with a product. • Be observing the client; if their arms twitch, they bite their nails, sigh deeply, shift their weight in their chair, recoil by leaning back or crossing their arms, lean in, change eye contact, laugh, etc. • e.g., Chobani. Say someone you’re interviewing about the brand/product has a cup of Chobani and you’ve already got her talking about sensations and images that come up. Let’s say you notice that since you started, she has crossed her arms, and has turned her body away from the yogurt, which she holds like the plague in her right hand. Let’s say you point this behavior out. “What does your body want to do with the yogurt? You look like you are holding it away from you. Do you want to throw it? Smash it?” • The idea is that exploring, playfully, these behavior impulses, we’ll start to uncover the meaning not only behind the behaviors, but behind the attitudes as well.
  57. 57. Language: Affect • Is there a feeling that comes with the emerging sensations & images? • How long have these kind of feelings been around? • If you were yourself as a child, what would you feel about this product/service? What would you say? • How does this product/service make you feel about yourself ?
  58. 58. Language: Meaning • *Caution: don’t go here to quickly because you’ll get taken straight to the Left Brain, which is not super useful to us because we want to get at meaning, which can’t be done without Right Brain! • This will most likely arise spontaneously; if not, go back to sensations. • What might this product/service mean to you? • Beyond making money, what does this product/service mean to others/culture/society? • How might what this product/service means to you be different from your mom? Sibling? Friend?
  59. 59. • Talking as if Activities • Right Brain/Left Brain dialoguing • as if you’re the child version of yourself • as if you’re a Jungian archetype • Left hand drawing & writing (to access RB) • Singing/rapping ideas (to access RB) • Internal Family Systems (IFS) • • Parts dialoguing Consciously selecting language • “notice your breath” vs. “sense your breath”
  60. 60. Right Brain--Left Brain http://min.dj/11JCshr
  61. 61. Internal Family Systems (IFS) • Exiles • • • hold painful emotions that have been isolated from the conscious Self for protection of the system or for the parts’ safety. e.g., Rage, Dependency, Shame, Fear, Grief, Loneliness Managers • • • Protect the system; attempt to keep us in control of every situation/ relationship in order to protect us from feeling hurt or rejected e.g., Controller, Planner, Judge, Striver, Self-critical, Passive Pessimist, Caretaker Firefighters • also protect the system, but act after exiles are upset to either sooth or distract them • e.g., Addictions, Suicidality, Violence, Dissociation, Distraction, OCD, Fantasy

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