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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Getting to the Core of Brand esSense: Visual Thinking in Research

Dec 07 2014 Published by neilgains under branding

If you want to talk to the emotional brain then you need to talk a language that emotions speak and hear, and that’s much more the language of the senses, especially the visual sense, than it is words. Visual approaches can help us understand the core of the esSense of a brand, by understanding the emotional story that underlies the goals or motivations of customers.

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Is There Too Much Storytelling?

Oct 09 2014 Published by neilgains under storytelling

Stefan Sagmeister shocked many in the creative industries earlier this year, when he dismissed the current trend of ‘storytelling’ in advertising and design as “bullshit”.  He particularly objected to the way that ‘storytelling’ has been latched on to by the corporate world (in the same way that ‘content’ has in the digital sphere). In one interview, he rages about a rollercoaster designer who calls himself a storyteller saying, “No fuckhead, you are not a storyteller, you’re a rollercoaster designer!”. And he has a point, as being a rollercoaster designer is a job that many would like, so why would anyone need to call it something else? Read more »

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Context Matters

May 31 2014 Published by neilgains under context

What do brain science and semiotics have in common? Semiotics and cultural studies reveal the systems of signs that exist in culture and other belief systems, where cultural context matters. Behavioural economics, social psychology and brain science all demonstrate that even small changes in the environment (context) can lead to huge changes in human behaviour. They both show that context matters much more than we admit, through shared cultural values, the ways in which meaning is ‘situated’ in particular contexts, and the interaction between context, emotional meaning and the link between behaviour and emotional context.

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Lessons from the Master of Deduction

May 13 2013 Published by neilgains under insight

“Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.” – W.H. Auden

In Mastermind, Maria Konnikova uses the stories of Sherlock Holmes to lay out best practices for deduction, observation, memory and imagination for anyone who wants to be a consulting detective (including market researchers). Some of the key lessons are worth repeating and a good addition to a previous article on Sherlock Holmes, summarised as:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Observe carefully
  3. Imagine
  4. Deduce
  5. Learn Read more »

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The Seducer (Archetypes #12)

Jan 17 2013 Published by neilgains under archetypes

“I’m pretty, but I’m not beautiful. I sin, but I’m not the devil. I’m good, but I’m not an angel.”  - Marilyn Monroe

“It is not enough to conquer. One must also know how to seduce.”  - Voltaire

“Beauty is the greatest seducer of man.”  - Paulo Coelho Read more »

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The Guru (Archetypes #7)

Dec 18 2012 Published by neilgains under archetypes

“The syllable gu means shadows, The syllable ru, he who disperses them, Because of the power to disperse darkness, the guru is thus named.” – Advayataraka Upanishad

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.”  - Thales Read more »

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The Catalyst (Archetypes #6)

Dec 15 2012 Published by neilgains under archetypes

“You’re familiar with the phrase ‘Man’s reach exceeds his grasp’? It’s a lie. Man’s grasp exceeds his nerve. The only limits on scientific progress are those imposed by society. The first time I changed the world, I was hailed as a visionary. The second time I was asked politely to retire. The world only tolerates one change at a time. And so here I am. Enjoying my “retirement”. Nothing is impossible, Mr. Angier, what you want is simply expensive.”  - spoken by Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006)

“To be a catalyst is the ambition most appropriate for those who see the world as being in constant change, and who, without thinking that they can control it, wish to influence its direction.”  - Theodore Zeldin Read more »

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The Artist (Archetypes #4)

Dec 04 2012 Published by neilgains under archetypes

“If you hear a voice inside you say, ‘You cannot paint,‘ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”  - Vincent van Gogh

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”  - Pablo Picasso

Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso follow all the classic traits of the Artist archetype. Creative geniuses on the edge of madness (particularly in the case of Vincent), living itinerant and often difficult lives and pursuing their own vision. Read more »

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