REWIRING YOUR BRAIN FOR FUN & PROFIT!
Let's revisit the Slow Burn branding mantra about what brand is. Ready?
It's the one way your core customer feels about your business.
Because emotions are key in the decision-making process.
You know all this.
But have you ever considered that one of the reasons branding works is because it rewires the brain?
"ALL MY TUBES AND WIRES!"
Thomas Dolby aside, this isn't so much about being blinded by science as being programmed by media.
Messages coming to us from the media change the way we think and feel.
Rolling Stone magazine has an article from October 6 of this year called, "Why We're Living in the Age of Fear."
The central thesis of the piece is simple: we're living in a time in history that is safer than ever for the average person, and d espite this fact, fear is at an all-time high.
HELLO, 24-HOUR NEWS & MEDIA!
With the internet and social media, "we are plugged into a non-stop feed of information."
And since fear is (as you know) a key trigger in selling, fear is used by politicians to manipulate buying decisions (i.e., winning votes) that can be worth millions.
As we've seen, say something enough times and it becomes "true."
Never mind what the actual facts are.
And with fear messages being pumped into the news and broadcast media, and all those messages being recycled into social media by your hysterical nitwit brother-in-law whom you've finally had to unfollow on Facebook, guess what happens...
Yes, you end up with a brain reprogrammed for FEAR OF EVERYTHING!
MEET YOUR AMYGDALA IN ACTION
We've talked about the amygdala before. It's that little, almond-shaped part of your brain that operates your emotions.
Despite all kinds of updates to the human operating system, especially the neocortex which is running the Lollipop Ice Cream Panther Pants OS, the amygdala still operates on version 1.0.
If the amygdala had a website, it would look like Yahoo circa 1994.
But hey, it's primitive and it works.
But psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman has coined the term, "amygdala hijack."
He uses the term "to describe emotional responses from people which are immediate and overwhelming, and out of measure with the actual stimulus because it has triggered a much more significant emotional threat." (Thank you, Wiki-All-Things-True-Pedia.)
"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE UNLESS TRUMP STOPS IT!"
Come on. If life were the movie Titanic, Trump would not be helping women and children into the lifeboats.
He'd be the idiotic, Billy-Zane character chasing Leo DiCaprio around a sinking ship with a gun just because he has a thing for Kate Winslet.
Realize, I'm not saying Hillary is Kathy Bates as the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Neither of these people is at the top of my list for foxhole buddies. I digress.
The point is this: they are politicians and they indulge in amygdala hijack. It's what campaigning has become all about.
As the Rolling Stone article says the hijack describes "what inflammatory rhetoric and imagery are designed to do: trigger the emotional brain before the logical brain has a chance to stop it."
And the kicker: "This is what both the right and the left believe their opponent's media are doing to people."
This is why you end up with chicken-little idiocy all over your Facebook feed.
AND YOU GET SUCKED DOWN INTO A DEATH SPIRAL OF UNWINNABLE ARGUING OVER SPECIOUS ISSUES
Whatever happened to sharing pictures of cousin Nathan's bar mitzvah and cat videos?
Anyway, this is not about politics or the presidency or the fact that your relentless scribe is willing to be an equal opportunity offender when it comes to partisan mockery.
This is about your brain and your amygdala being hijacked by little terrorists of false fear.
But your amygdala isn't always a victim of the sinister. There can be great joy involved in the hijack.
There's a reason Kevin Hart talking about his dad punching him in the head during his mom's funeral can make you involuntarily spit light beer all over your Vizio big screen.
Triggering fear is like shooting fish in a barrel. We need to be wearing emotional Kevlar.
AND YES, YOU CAN CONTROL THIS
Dr. Goleman's amygdala hijacking thesis is based in part on the work of Dr. Joseph E. LeDoux.
Dr. LeDoux says that despite the hair trigger in amygdala, you can teach your neocortex to rein it in. (The neocortex is the part of your brain that's involved in higher functions like saving a bunch of money at Holiday Inn Express or excelling at beer pong.)
So what does all of this have to do with branding?
Glad you asked.
Let's agree that media is essentially a message delivery system.
In a way, branding is a kind of media.
It's a delivery system for the way you want your core customer to feel about your business.
AS SUCH, BRANDING CAN ALSO REWIRE THE BRAIN
It can hijack your brain to make you feel differently about your business.
Notice I'm talking about you, not your customer.
It works for the customer, too.
And that customer is the single most important person in the branding equation.
But the way the business owner feels about the brand directly impacts their confidence, how they present themselves and how they treat the customer.
We've heard it repeatedly.
"I AM SO PROUD!"
This is exactly what a client of ours said upon the completion of rebranding.
Instead of having a business name that sounded like a hair salon, with a website that was kinda wonky, they now had a business name that sounded upscale and contemporary and a website befitting a luxury real estate agent.
Another client had a business consultancy brand with a generic name and a brand image that felt very much like a feminine product.
The male employees hated handing out the business cards because all they could think of was "freshness when you need it."
A unique and surprising and elevated brand makeover suddenly made everyone proud to be there. Their productivity went through the roof.
An upscale wellness clinic with an arcane and confusing name rebranded with a clear and aspirational and resonant name and brand image--and suddenly everyone working in the practice was galvanized around the clarity of their mission. They became better at their jobs.
IT'S INTANGIBLE--YET POWERFUL
Changing how the brand feels to the people inside the brand is potent and profitable.
That's because the people inside the brand directly affect how the people outside the brand feel about it.
And the people outside the brand are the ones showing you the money.
And for them to show you them money, they have to feel good about the brand.
Rewiring the brain for fun and profit.
It takes some effort. It'll make you sweat. It can be scary.
But in the end, it's nice to be able to hijack all those amygdalae for the side of good, right and true.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.