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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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 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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How many emotions can you think of?

Sep 25 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

In some ways The Book of Human Emotions is a remarkable book, managing to cover 154 different emotions into a very readable and entertaining 270 pages. Through short, witty and illuminating essays on each emotion, the author reveals some of the many stories behind each emotion, and although light on science this is a book that is rich in insights into the human condition. Read more »

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What Market Research can Learn from Brexit

Jul 08 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

The result of the recent referendum in the UK on membership of the European Union (EU) was a big shock for most people, including opinion poll companies. Unfortunately, they had been providing remarkably similar forecasts for the last several months as the poll became closer, sometimes up and sometimes down but almost all with the same prediction. Those that tried even failed to get it right on polling day itself. In this regard, they repeated their poor performance of the UK general election just over one year ago. Read more »

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Feeling the Gap: Why goals matter for employers and brands

Apr 29 2016 Published by neilgains under archetypes

“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.

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