Six Songs and Human Nature

Nov 24 2015 Published by neilgains under book review

In This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin explored the psychology of music, and in The World in Six Songs he turns to music, culture and human nature.  He discusses six different ways in which music and song communicate emotions and ideas, covering friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge and love, arguing that these songs are the building blocks of human nature. This is a great read on the role of music in all societies and how it has shaped and reflects human culture. I couldn’t help but notice that the six songs Levitiin discusses cover the range of human motivations and emotional goals. Read more »

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The Spectre of Blending Signs

Nov 09 2015 Published by neilgains under semiotics

I really enjoyed Spectre, the latest Bond outing. In particular, the film is full of references to other (Bond) movies. Apart from the fact that Spectre weaves together strands from all three of Daniel Craig’s previous outings, I noticed quiet specific references to several earlier Bond films, including From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (via Inception) and The Spy Who Loved Me. And those are only the ones that I remember (I wasn’t taking notes in the cinema).

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Let The Hands Speak

Oct 26 2015 Published by neilgains under brain science

“Language is inseparable from imagery” argues David McNeill (quoting from Antonio Damasio) in his revealing book on the relationship between gesture and language. Moreover, gestures actually help us to think and to speak and to articulate our feelings and thinking. Read more »

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How to CHIME with System 1

Sep 07 2015 Published by neilgains under behavioural economics

Daniel Kahneman’s version of the division of the brain is gradually replacing the models, although it shares much in common with the older view of the “triune” brain. In the triune model there area three parts, the reptilian brain (home of the basic functions like homeostasis, breathing, feeding, sex), the mammalian brain (home of the emotions) and the neocortex (home of memory, higher level sensory processing and self-reflection and rational thinking).Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 is closest to a combination of reptilian and mammalian brains (survival and emotion) although it also incorporates some higher level sensory processing too. Read more »

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Celebrity Matching: Female celebrities and Muslim beauty

Aug 30 2015 Published by neilgains under Asia trends

As part of our work on Muslim beauty, TapestryWorks, ABN Impact and Zest Research Consultancy also looked at perceptions of local female celebrities using picture sets of around 30 celebrities in both Indonesia and Malaysia.

Figure 1 - Indonesia celebrity images

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The Feeling of Muslim Beauty: Is the beauty myth universal or do local truths prevail?

Jul 30 2015 Published by neilgains under Asia trends

The beauty every woman desires?

Much has been written about the rise of hijabers and the modernization of Muslim values. Many such perspectives interpret cultural changes through the lens of Western values, so what is the truth about modern Muslim women in South East Asia and what they feel about beauty? Read more »

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What’s in a Metaphor? Using images to decode culture

Jul 21 2015 Published by neilgains under semiotics

TapestryWorks recently conducted some fascinating research into the meaning of beauty for Muslim women in Indonesia and Malaysia.  The self-funded project looked at the key emotional goals relating to beauty, using our StoryWorks framework and Visual Think Cards, perceptions of local female celebrities in relation to beauty, and an emotional and cultural analysis of how brands are talking about beauty in both markets.

We will be sharing the results with clients and publishing some of the key highlights soon, but one of the major findings is that many local brands are far ahead of global brands in catching the local zeitgeist and communicating messages that resonate with local cultural norms.

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The Importance of Brand esSense: is Vaseline implicitly messing it up?

Jul 09 2015 Published by neilgains under archetypes

In Brand esSense I use many examples of brands that have been successful in finding and articulating a clear and consistent emotional positioning, including at least one Unilever brand. Having just finished fieldwork on a project to understand the meaning of beauty to Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia, I am in the process of writing up our findings on how beauty really feels and they are fascinating. As part of writing up, I have been spending time looking at beauty advertising in the two markets to understand how different brands are currently talking about beauty.

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Human Decision-Making and the Semiotics of Sensory Signals

Apr 24 2015 Published by neilgains under semiotics

Successful brands understand both the universal qualities of human behavior and the cultural context of the local markets in which they operate. Thus, good brand management integrates universals of human nature with locally relevant nurturing through the prism of culture.

So do semiotics and neuromarketing have much in common? Although there has been little interaction between behavioral scientists and semioticians, they share more than is commonly acknowledged and are often solving the same problem from different perspectives. Read more »

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A Picture Paints A Thousand Words: Making Research More Visual (White Paper #3)

Mar 24 2015 Published by neilgains under consumer psychology

Market research still uses too many words, with most approaches continuing to focus on question and answer approaches to understanding human behaviour. However, we know that most of the brain lives in the physical world and builds knowledge through the sensory system and especially the visual sense. It’s time for market research to get more visual and use the power of images and metaphors to capture the real feelings of people that sit beyond the rational and verbal brain.

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