5 Ways Brand Stories Connect

Mar 31 2017

We all understand the impact of stories in our lives, and increasingly businesses are taking storytelling more seriously as a skill to develop and nurture (I’ve recently run a Storytelling training program for one such business in China and have another public course running in May). But what is it about story that connects so powerfully with us, and how does the psychology of story mirror the psychology of brand choice? Here are five ways that stories tap into universal human behaviours.

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Putting on the Brakes: The Feeling of Fear

Feb 27 2017

If you read the newspapers or switch on the nightly news, you might conclude that there is a lot to be afraid of over the coming year, in keeping with 2016. Fear is primal and one of the most fundamental of human emotions. Charles Darwin believed that the emotion of fear went back to the origins of all species, writing, “we may confidently believe … Fear was expressed from an extremely remote period in almost the same manner as it is now by man”. Read more »

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The esSense of a new insurance brand? (The Importance of Brand esSense #6)

Feb 14 2017

Walking through Singapore yesterday, I noticed for the first time the eTiQa insurance brand, owned by Maybank. Perhaps I should have noticed the brand before, but I was struck by the colours and naming of the brand which struck an immediate resonance for the category.

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Is Donald Trump a branding guru that market research should follow?

Feb 03 2017

Perhaps the most important thing that Donald Trump has shown us all is the importance of being different and distinctive from your competitors. In a recent article on hbr.org, Roger Martin argues that Trump didn’t win because of a bad Clinton strategy, celebrity obsession or Russian hackers (although they may have contributed). Donald Trump won because people wanted change and he “positioned” his brand as the change and anti-establishment candidate. Read more »

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The Arrival of Emojis

Jan 18 2017

In Arrival, Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams) asks to meet and interact face-to-face with the aliens who have landed on Planet Earth and has to use visual communication to more quickly and effectively learn their language. Similarly, studies of human communication have shown that non-verbal signals account for a significant proportion of that communication making it more effective and memorable. Read more »

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Which Tribe do you belong to?

Dec 27 2016

Although Tribe is mostly written about war veterans and the process of coming home from war, it holds some profound lessons for all of us and how we cope with the modern world. The central argument is that recovery is strongly associated with a feeling of belonging to a group, something that war gives soldiers and then takes away from many of them when they return. Read more »

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Joy to the World: The feeling of happiness

Dec 26 2016

If there is an emotion that is most strongly associated with the Christmas and New Year holidays it must surely be Joy. In the text as well as performances of the Christmas carol ‘Joy to the world’, Joy is associated with singing and a very physical and spontaneous sense of well-being. [The carol was written by Isaac Watts, a pastor with a father who was jailed for his non-conformist views, in 1719 and with a famous musical setting written by George Frederick Handel.]

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Marketing to Consumers’ Instincts

Dec 14 2016

There are now many books about the application of behavioural science to branding and marketing (including Brand esSense). The Business Of Choice by Matthew Willcox is a recent edition is one of the more readable ones, summarising many of the core ideas of behavioural economics in a very business-focused and reader-friendly way. Uniquely, the coverage extends to thinking about the role of human nature and culture in shaping consumers’ decision-making.

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Will 2017 be a Greener Year?

Dec 12 2016

Pantone have just announced their colour of the year, and it’s a “refreshing and vitalising” shade called Greenery (otherwise known as Pantone 15-0343), which they describe as “symbolic of new beginnings”. The colour is strongly associated with spring and is a shade of green that incorporates yellow to give a “fresh and zesty” feel that suits spring as a time to “revive, restore and renew”.

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The Beauty of Believing in Brand Values

Nov 28 2016

Reading Generation M recently (review here) made me think long and hard about the relationship between religious or spiritual beliefs and brand values. TapestryWorks’ research on Asian beauty has highlighted the gap between international brands and the aspirations of many Asian women. This gap is nowhere clearer than Indonesia, where many local brands “feel” much more in tune with local culture, a culture which is very strongly informed by Muslim values. Read more »

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