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Our tribal identities govern our decision making, but change requires more than that

By Bob Bailly tribalmarketing

My reading over the last several weeks has been all over the map, from political parties entrenching in unsupportable positions in Canada and the US, to the neuroscience of leadership. While I’ll discuss more about this later, it was at a board meeting of a not-for-profit that I attended last week that I finally was able to see a thread connecting my readings and what I was observing.

The meeting concerned the introduction of a new name and identity for the organization – a need clearly outlined as a priority in the organization’s strategic plan. The meeting shifted from the ordinary, however, because in the process of doing this work, there was a major disconnect between stakeholders. While the discussion was supposed to be about the rebranding, it quickly centred on the intent, tone and function of the new name that had already been approved. In fact, not only was a previously approved decision of the board being questioned, staff morale was in jeopardy and emotions were running high.

The particulars beyond this are unimportant and all the issues were ultimately resolved. But it was in this resolution that an ah-ha moment hit me. Most of what I was reading, hearing and now experiencing had tribal roots, but there was also something else going on that intrigued me.

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Brain fame: Will technology redefine how our brains are wired?

By Bob Baillyhumanbrainandsocialmedia

Over the last several months, I’ve been heartened to see that my obsession with how the human brain functions is becoming part of mainstream thinking. I’m referring to the incredible amount of media attention this organ has received recently from TV, newspapers, magazines and blog articles that extol the virtues of applying neuroscience knowledge – running the gamut from Jason Silva’s National Geographic Channel’s Brain Games, to the Globe and Mail’s or New York Times’ series on the way digital culture affects the way we think, learn and live.

If that were not evidence enough, one need only to look at the incredible array of brain games available through a Google search to realize that the educational industry has learned how to positively apply neuroplasticity – or the ability of the brain to be molded by our thoughts and actions.

I believe a great part of this educational interest in exercising our mind stems from an aging population’s obsession to keep our brains healthy into old age, as well as a new generation of parents and teachers looking to improve their students’ academic success. Increasingly, however, neuro-practitioners are popping up in fields such as sports and business as sports trainers or sales, marketing and communications practitioners see the merit of applying findings from the field of neuroscience into their athletic or business practices.

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Why the best target for your sales and marketing efforts is a reptile

neuromarketingBy Bob Bailly

As a self professed science nerd my study of choice over the last decade has been neuroscience, so much so that I’ve built a consulting practice centered on a notion that we can improve our selling success by incorporating its scientific findings.

This field of study has been called neuromarketing, but others, like Robert Schiller, have also linked these concepts to their own fields of interest. He writes:

“Neuroscience – the science of how the brain, that physical organ inside one’s head, really works – is beginning to change the way we think about how people make decisions. These findings will inevitably change the way we think about how economies function. In short, we are at the dawn of ‘neuroeconomics.’

“Efforts to link neuroscience to economics have occurred mostly in just the last few years, and the growth of neuroeconomics is still in its early stages. But its nascence follows a pattern: revolutions in science tend to come from completely unexpected places. A field of science can turn barren if no fundamentally new approaches to research are on the horizon. Scholars can become so trapped in their methods – in the language and assumptions of the accepted approach to their discipline – that their research becomes repetitive or trivial.”

Whether you feel neuromarketing, neuroeconomic or even neuropolitical thought is appropriate, here are some ideas you might want consider if you’re in the business of selling technological products or services.

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You are what you think

By Bob Bailly

Humans have relatively big brains, and certainly it’s our defining characteristic, as much as a trunk is for an elephant, or the size of its neck is for a giraffe. While brains are actually amazingly similar among all primates (and for that matter, among all mammals) the added advantages our species enjoys thanks to our big brains are abstract thinking and language.

More than anything else, these two characteristics have allowed us to pass significant amounts of knowledge along to contemporaries and to subsequent generations, and it defines our species from all others. Because we are able to generate original thought that can be expressed through language – both verbal and written – we have become the first animal that can trade in ideas.

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The business of evolution: We’re not as clever as we think we are

By Bob Bailly

When I was first asked to contribute to this blog, my stated interest was writing a piece that “is really all about you and how evolution has contrived you to be who you are, acting and feeling the way you do. It’s also about how to improve your business performance.”

Since then, I’ve tried to explore how evolutionary sciences can be used for predictive modeling for our business stragegies.

I’m more convinced than ever that if you are looking to build better brands, increase your marketing effectiveness, shorten sales cycle times, improve communication at all levels of the organization, and foster loyalty with customers, stakeholders and employees, you can benefit by understanding how we came to be the kind of animal that we are.

The first thing to remember is we’re not as clever as we think we are.

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