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.
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.