July 14, 2012#

The Principles of Offensive Branding

Political advertising succeeds largely by attacking opponents’ weaknesses, rather than promoting candidates’ own strengths.   For a hundred years and more, political operatives have been writing the book on the power of defining yourself by defining your competition.  Think of Johnson’s “The Girl with the Daisy/Atomic Bomb” commercial, or the John Kerry “Swift Boat” ads, or more recently how President Obama is framing Mitt Romney as rich and insensitive to the needs of middle class Americans.
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March 30, 2012#

Action is Branding

In the movies, they say, “Action is character” because what an actor does is more important than what he says.   It’s true in real life, as well, where we judge a person’s character more on what they do than say.  Similarly, in the world of branding, success is 90% walk and 10% talk.  True and meaningful differentiation lies more in the experience than the story.  Action is Branding.
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October 12, 2011#

Steve Jobs: Master Brander

It’s axiomatic that the best brand positioning is one in which you can create a new category or sub-category.  As The Grateful Dead singer/songwriter, Jerry Garcia, put it so well:  “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best.  Your want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”
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September 16, 2010#

Changing Minds

There are an increasing number of books out now about changing people’s minds and behaviors, two important, and inarguably difficult, objectives of effective branding.

I went back recently and read one of the original books on the subject from 2006 by Howard Gardner titled Changing Minds:  The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds.

Here’s a top line of some of the most interesting takeaways from the book.

The most important piece of advise the author offers is that to change minds, spend less time trying to convince individuals of a new perspective, and more time trying to understand and thereby neutralize the resistances.

Like everything else in life, the 80/20 rule applies to changing minds.   20% of inputs result in 80% of outputs.  The same applies to causes and consequences, and effort and results.

Human beings think in concepts.  Presenting multiple versions of the same concept can be an extremely powerful way to change someone’s mind.  One concept, many expressions.  That’s the way to go.

Changing minds need to focus on ideas, concepts, stories or theories.

A concept refers to any set of closely related entities.

Stories are narratives that describe events that unfold over time.  At minimum stories consist of a main character or protagonist, on-going activities aimed toward a goal, a crises, and a resolution or at least an attempt at resolution.   Also, the best stories use a universal archetype but place it in a new world.

Theories are relatively formal explanations of processes in the world.  X has occurred because of A, B or C.

People have different types of intelligences.  The more of an individuals intelligences you can appeal to when making an argument, the more likely you are to change a person’s mind, and the more minds you’re likely to change.

Different intelligences:

Linquistic Intelligence

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Musical Intelligence

Spatial Intelligence

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Naturalist Intelligence

In general, because of the way we learn, once we get an idea in our head it’s hard to change.  The more emotional one’s commitment to a cause or belief, the more difficult to change.

People exhibit cognitive laxity—the ease and comfort of sticking with a prevailing line of explanation, particularly when it’s neat and simple.

It’s easier to change minds when individuals find themselves in a new environment surrounded by peers of a different persuasion, or when individuals undergo shattering experiences  or encounter luminous personalities.