It's all in the brain - brands and emotional connect

MUMBAI: The human brain consists of 100 billion cells, 100 trillion connections and is by far the most complex organism in the universe. It is the also the place where brands reside. This is the real 'sticky stuff'.

One session of Promax&BDA 2005 saw Graham McCallum, the creative head and founding partner of British television branding company Kemistry, talk about how scientific research is tracking the emotional responses to brands.


He used the example of the Eiffel Tower as a super brand, which could unlock a number of associations about all things French. Like their wine, for instance.

McCallum pointed to a study by Dr Erin Ziedl of California University who tracked brain responses with an MRI scanner. Brand names were recognised by the emotional part of the brain, the right side.

He used a study of Coke to show how strong emotional connect is. A particularly illustrative example was that of the reaction of US soldiers during the Korean war. Coke cans were sent to soldiers at the front. Interestingly these soldiers did not consume the product. They just kept it by their beds or where they could see it simply because it reminded them of home.

McCullum says that it is important for brands to target kids even if they are not directly using them. For instance a car company in the UK came out with an ad targeting boys. After all boys have pester power when it comes to telling their father which car to buy. Also another study shows that one-and-a-half-year-old tots can recognise McDonalds' golden arches. This is not surprising as children are exposed to brands from birth. Even five-year-olds can recognize lots of brands.



McCallum's advice to brand managers - keep to the central brand proposition. One needs to know the key touch points that your product will come into contact with. This includes the phone receptionist speaking to a customer. It is also important to claim ownership. In a cluttered television market a movie channel should send a clear message about the fact that it is airing a particular blockbuster. It is also important to be clear and consistent.

He gave the example of Holland's pubcaster. Kemistry simplified the logos and made them a gateway to everything else when one visits their website. It is also imperative for a brand to do the unexpected. For instance a Canadian television firm Global stuck their logo on apples.

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