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September 28, 2010

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Comments

CD

Hello David, Does this mean it is always best for a brand to personify itself in some ways, or more use any one of the senses to create context? Is what Microsoft and Intel have done with audio tones qualify? I'd appreciate an example or 2 of companies who are not using a "character" like Michelin Man or The Burger King "King" or Disney, and are doing it right, as you would recommend?
Thanks.

David Wolfe

Very good question, CD.

If the sensory stimulant(s)has a connection to something living it can attract the right brain's attention. The Intel musical notes hummed by staff is an example. No brand that is represented by sound alone (no visual connection with people) comes to mind. But there is no reason why it's not possible, and indeed probably has been done. I just can't think of an example. That said, sound often plays an important role in distinguishing a commercial in terms of life. The quack of the Aflac duck is a good example of that as is the Down Under accent of the Geico Gecko. Mr. Clean's rich baritone conveys strength.

I would also say that a sound that at first does not a have strong effect on the right brain can acquire meaning to it over time. For example, the NBC signature xylophone sound has a unique standing in many people's minds because of their association with it and the network over many years. On rare occasions hearing it causes my brain to flash a scene from childhood in which we were listening to a show on radio to across my mind.

I know I haven't answered your question quite as you would like, but in sum sounds are effective for contextualizing the human experience of using a brand.

CD

Hi David,
thanks for response re: audio. I'm wondering if your suggesting that a brand "best" utilize a character of sorts that relates to human context (other than a living thing, like a human or animal or plant, etc) to gain the benefits you espouse? Or if there are "other" techniques beyond character and living things that can fit into the brain awareness as you suggest?

David Wolfe

In his remarkable book on brain lateralization, The Master and His Emissary, neuropsychiatrist Iain describes the right brain affinity for living entities and things associated with life. The left brain by contrast takes great interest in the inanimate world. Also, the right brain is by far more capable of understanding metaphors, thus metaphors can stand for living beings and the right brain gets it. I think that responds to one of your questions. The left brain has no ability to divine the reference behind a metaphor.

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Blogs with a Global Perspective On Marketing


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Blogs on Branding

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Blogs on Specialty Areas of Marketing

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Blogs on Sales Theory and Practice

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