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

Feb 14 2017 Published by neilgains under brand essense

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 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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Which Tribe do you belong to?

Dec 27 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

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 Published by neilgains under emotion

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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The Beauty of Believing in Brand Values

Nov 28 2016 Published by neilgains under brand essense

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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The rise of modern Muslim values

Nov 23 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

There has never been a better time to improve our understanding of Islamic traditions and Muslim values. Ignoring the current political climate in the US and elsewhere, the more important and long-term trend to know is the projection by PewResearchCenter that the number of Muslims in the world will increase from 1.6 billion in 2010 to an estimated 2.76 billion in 2050. The book Generation M could not be more timely. Read more »

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A Gap in the Toblerone Brand (The Importance of Brand esSense #5)

Nov 10 2016 Published by neilgains under brand essense

Why, oh why, oh why? Why would any brand manager take the most unique, distinctive and well known asset of a brand and change it?

Well Mondelez know better and have widened the spaces between the well known chunks of a Toblerone chocolate bar in order to save money (perhaps inspired by Brexit and rising ingredient costs). You can see the original and “gappy” versions of the product above.

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