In some ways The Book of Human Emotions is a remarkable book, managing to cover 154 different emotions into a very readable and entertaining 270 pages. Through short, witty and illuminating essays on each emotion, the author reveals some of the many stories behind each emotion, and although light on science this is a book that is rich in insights into the human condition. Read more »
“When I was a little girl no one ever told me I was pretty. All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they are not.”
“Natural beauty takes at least two hours in front of a mirror.”
Asked why people desire physical beauty, Aristotle said, “No one that is not blind could ask that question”. Is there more to what we find beautiful than just our individual preferences and prejudices? In Survival of the Prettiest, Nancy Etcoff reviews the evidence that beauty is more science than art. In particular, she discusses the role of evolution and natural selection versus culture in shaping what makes someone beautiful.
Music and song have an amazing power over us and is one of the most powerful tools in brand building (read more here, here and here). Music and song are also barometers of cultural change, and this is what Stuart Maconie explores in his book The People’s Songs, a very readable cultural history of modern Britain. He traces cultural change through 50 of the country’s most popular songs, starting with We’ll Meet Again from 1939 and finishing with Bonkers from 2009 (a span of 60 years). Read more »
The result of the recent referendum in the UK on membership of the European Union (EU) was a big shock for most people, including opinion poll companies. Unfortunately, they had been providing remarkably similar forecasts for the last several months as the poll became closer, sometimes up and sometimes down but almost all with the same prediction. Those that tried even failed to get it right on polling day itself. In this regard, they repeated their poor performance of the UK general election just over one year ago. Read more »
TapestryWorks has been using Visual Think Cards® for several years now to capture human goals and the emotions and contexts that are associated with them. For most branding applications, these work very well to elicit the balance of positive and negative sentiment associated with a category, brand or experience.
However, sometimes we need to dig deeper into emotions, especially when the topic is more serious and with darker feelings. On these occasions, we have often used a model of human emotions based on evolutionary biology and psychology (read more here and here about Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions).
It’s an old Hollywood myth to “never work with animals of children”, and while TapestryWorks have avoided the former so far, we have often been involved in research with children. Of course, children are usually a little less articulate than adults, but are also usually very clear on what they like and don’t like.
Therefore, a good approach to research with children is to provide stimuli for them to react to. Over the past year, we have been developing a set of stimuli specifically for children, based around our StoryWorks motivational model. Read more »
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
(William Shakespeare, Sonnet XVIII)
Marketers have finally got the message and are paying increasing importance to the role of emotions in helping consumers make choices about brands. Decisions about brand, or more generally decisions about life, are not just about associating an emotion with a brand or company, but about associating the right emotion. William Shakespeare was right when he talked about the gap between reality and desire, between being hot and rough or fair and temperate.
What should marketers know about brand extensions, and the role of their brand meaning in shaping their decisions about how far they can stretch their brand? We all know about the many failures of brand extensions, so how do you avoid them?
The key is always to understand the esSense of your brand and what it means to customers. Successful brand extensions are able to leverage a brand’s esSense, while many unsuccessful brand extensions simply don’t fit with what the consumer already knows about your brand. Read more »
Stan Sthanunathan (Senior Vice President of Consumer and Market Insights at Unilever) recently said that great insights should appear obvious when you look back. Market Researchers, Data Analysts and Consultants shouldn’t feel offended by this remark, as most great human insights are obvious once you understand them. Read more »