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Would you kill the Fat Man?

trolleyBy Bob Bailly

I’ve written a lot on this blog about the concepts of neuromarketing – a predictive model that uses findings from the sciences concerning the brain (neuroscience and psychology) to improve sales and communication skills.

It’s based upon the simple concept that human decisions are made in the most primitive (from an evolutionary perspective) parts of our brains ­– aptly described as our “old” or “reptilian” brain.

We know this because neuroscientists have been able to identify how our brains function under a wide range of activities using modern diagnostic equipment; they can now see what the physical effects are as various regions of our brains work, play, think and conjure. The biology observed from these electro-chemical reactions is truly amazing in its complexity and design, yet  all we are really “seeing” are the electro-chemical indicators of a brain at work – we really don’t have a clue what makes a brain into a mind. In reality, neuroscientists and philosophers don’t even really have any clear understanding of what a thought really is. We know what our minds can do, we know that the origination of thought comes from our brains, but frankly the understanding and language to describe the link between brain and mind does not currently exist.

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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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