Learning the Psychology of Online Persuasion

Jun 22 2017 Published by neilgains under book review

Webs of Influence is one of the most useful books on psychology you will ever pick up. It’s easy to use format covers swathes of research into the psychology of human behavior and what it means for designing marketing programs and websites that engage with people. The second edition has just been published with more useful content updated to reflect this fast-changing field. Read more »

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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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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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A journey of nine emotions

Nov 17 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

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 »

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Beauty – Science or Art?

Sep 22 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

“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.”

Marilyn Monroe

“Natural beauty takes at least two hours in front of a mirror.”

Pamela Anderson

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.

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The Soundtrack of our Lives: How pop songs reflect and shape culture

Aug 31 2016 Published by neilgains under culture

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 »

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Picturing Emotions in Research

Jun 07 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

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).

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The Culture of Childhood: Understanding children’s goals

May 30 2016 Published by neilgains under insight

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 »

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