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 »
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 »
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.]
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 »
In Emotional Rollercoaster, Claudia Hammond goes on a journey through the science of emotions, exploring nine different emotions on the way. Although harder going and less enjoyable than another book I have recently read and reviewed, this is still full of insights into the science behind emotions as well as anecdotes that illuminate how each emotion fits into our understanding of human behaviour. Let’s take a quick tour of each of the nine. 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 »
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.