Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Brainy Brands, Emotions, and Eve's Apple - Brain Patterns - Useful in Social Media Search?

Yesterday, I went to Brighton. While travelling back on Southwestern Rail, a pretty young lady with long fair hair sat opposite me in the coach.

My eyes fixated on her adam's (or should we call it eve's?) apple - it was wobbling up and down. I thought: "This young lady's about to cry." Then I thought: "Don't make assumptions, look at her eyes...look for other signs." The eyes were slightly watery. But that didn't necessarily mean emotional tears.

Suddenly all I saw was a giant ONION. Dad's Army? Dixondale Farms? David Coleman? An onion on a billboard that said: "We know our onions..." The billboard was attached to some scaffolding as I passed on a bus between Tower Hill and Victoria earlier that day.

The brain's ability to associate tears with onions and attach memory is amazing. This is another area to explore. People's brains must create different patterns when connecting emotions, perceptions and memory. Those patterns may be used in social media search. Marketers have all kinds of avenues to experiment with especially with the development of biometrics and tools like fMRI.

Too far off? Look at Case 7 and 11 - http://ethics.iit.edu/eb/Nationalcases20071.pdf.

But ethics (simply a custom or habit - your thinking and doing) do have to be considered when marketing products and appealing to emotions because of social and moral responsibility to others. So I'd ask you to think about the contribution of someone like Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) - Genevan Philosopher of the Enlightenment and his socialist theory (social media?):

1. Society's negative influence on men centers on its transformation of a positive self-love (what he terms "Amour de soi") into pride or "Amour propre". The self-love is our instinctive human desire to self-preserve combined with our human power of reason.

Pride, on the other hand, is artificial and forces man to compare himself to others. The articiality and comparison creates fear, allowing men to take pleasure in the pain or weakness of others. Rousseau was not the first to make this distinction. The French moralist, Luc de Clapier, marques de Vauvenargues is thought to be the first.

Rousseau viewed society as artificial and held that the development of society, especially the growth of social interdependence, has been inimical to the well-being of human beings. Marketers have to consider the well-being of human beings when developing and deploying metrics, search strategies, and campaigns.

2. Rousseau published "Discourse in the Arts and Sciences" where he "argued that the arts and sciences had not been beneficial to humankind because they were not human needs, but rather a result of pride and vanity" (wikipedia).

He saw both as disciplines that created opportunities for idleness and luxury with the progress of knowledge that contributed to the corruption of man, and the overpowering of goverments that crushed individual liberty.

His conclusion: Material progress undermined the possibility of sincere friendship because it replaced genuineness with jealousy, fear, and suspicion.

3. Another work of Rosseau's is the "Discourse on Inequality" where he argues a number of points:

a) primitive humans were possessed of a basic drive to care for themselves and a natural disposition for compassion and pity
b) humans were forced to associate together more closely by the pressure of population growth, they underwent a psychological transformation and came to value the good opinion of others as an essential component of their own well-being
c) their new self-awareness was associated with a golden age of human flourishing - the development of agriculture, metallurgy, private property... (social contract created by the rich & poweful)
d) humans became increasingly dependent on one another which led to inequality and a state of conflict (the flaw of the social contract)

Conclusion: "...the desire to have value [brand?] in the eyes of others, which originated in the golden age, comes to undermine personal integrity and authenticity in a society marked by interdependence, hierarchy, and inequality" (Wikipedia).

Challenge for Brand Marketers: How do you create a desirable brand that does not undermine personal integrity and authenticity in a society marked by interdependence, hierarchy, and inequality?

In his "Social Contract", Rosseau advocates that individuals free themselves by abondoning their claim on natural right because submission to the authority of the general will of the people protects individuals from the subordinate will of others, and also ensures that they obey themselves because they are, collectively, the authors of the law.

According to the Wikipedia, he invented modern autobiography (isn't blogging a form of autobiography?) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques_Rousseau

Lists of Ethicists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethicists

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