Is Boredom a good thing?

Jul 28 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

Even though the modern world is full of constant demands on our attention and an ever-increasing choice of on-demand food and drink, media and experiences, boredom is still a common and arguably important part of our lives. In one U.K. survey, the average person claimed to suffer from boredom for 6 hours per week, which would add up to 2 or more years of an average lifespan. Read more »

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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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The Arrival of Emojis

Jan 18 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

In Arrival, Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams) asks to meet and interact face-to-face with the aliens who have landed on Planet Earth and has to use visual communication to more quickly and effectively learn their language. Similarly, studies of human communication have shown that non-verbal signals account for a significant proportion of that communication making it more effective and memorable. 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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Marketing to Consumers’ Instincts

Dec 14 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

There are now many books about the application of behavioural science to branding and marketing (including Brand esSense). The Business Of Choice by Matthew Willcox is a recent edition is one of the more readable ones, summarising many of the core ideas of behavioural economics in a very business-focused and reader-friendly way. Uniquely, the coverage extends to thinking about the role of human nature and culture in shaping consumers’ decision-making.

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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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