Good and Bad Surprises

Sep 29 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

When Darwin published The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals in 1872, surprise was one of six basic emotions that he highlighted along with fear, anger, happiness, sadness and disgust. Read more »

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Emotions are constructed just like our experience of the world

Aug 31 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

The latest science of the brain and emotions is rather disconcerting until you sit and think about it. What Lisa Feldman Barrett says about the working of our emotions is almost exactly the same story that I tell about perception in Brand esSense. Given the links between experience and emotions, her story makes complete sense. And she has plenty of evidence from a wide range of sources to back up her arguments. Read more »

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Cultural Insights Help Marketers Connect Universal Truths to Local Truths

Aug 21 2017 Published by neilgains under brand essense

Little by little the past few years have seen a weakening of the dominance of multinational brands in Asia, as local players win consumer’s hearts with greater understanding of local culture and its importance in consumer decision-making.

For example, beauty is big business in Asia, but in many countries local brands are the most popular with the highest penetration and market share, with international brands increasingly struggling to compete. In Indonesia, local brand Wardah has come from nowhere to take around one-third of the cosmetics market. It’s secret? Understanding the values of Indonesian women (and halal certification, something that has now been legislated to come into effect in the coming years). Read more »

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Is Boredom a good thing?

Jul 28 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

Even though the modern world is full of constant demands on our attention and an ever-increasing choice of on-demand food and drink, media and experiences, boredom is still a common and arguably important part of our lives. In one U.K. survey, the average person claimed to suffer from boredom for 6 hours per week, which would add up to 2 or more years of an average lifespan. Read more »

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Is Anger the Emotion of the 21st Century?

May 25 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

“Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor” – Elizabeth I

Why is there so much anger in the world today? Anger has been cited as playing a part in the often strange and surprising politics of the last year (by myself among others), and only today I switched on the news to see that a Republican candidate for US Congress has “body-slammed” a reporter. What is anger and why is it so prevalent? Read more »

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Understanding Muslim Beauty: The endless growing opportunity

Apr 25 2017 Published by neilgains under Asia trends

What is the real opportunity for Muslim beauty? Let’s start with the numbers, which are truly impressive, before sharing  some research on what Muslim women want from beauty and the relationship between beauty and Muslim values. Let’s then look at one beauty brand that I think has been successful in capturing these needs and values, before putting Muslim beauty into a broader context of global beauty trends. Read more »

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5 Ways Brand Stories Connect

Mar 31 2017 Published by neilgains under storytelling

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 Published by neilgains under emotion

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

Feb 03 2017 Published by neilgains under brand essense

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 Published by neilgains under emotion

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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