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Best in Brand & Innovation for February

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Every month we bring you the best articles we find in brand, innovation, and creativity.

This month we take a look at the brain on creativity, how effective branding is contingent on emotions, recent research on ways to inspire innovation from within and more.

The Value Of An Employer Branding Structure – Forbes

Favorite brands help create personal brands. Often brands are chosen because they represent something we see in ourselves or want to obtain. The more a customer identifies with a brand, the less likely they are to switch to a different brand. In order to build “unbreakable” customer relationships, the editor outlines five things businesses can do now. “Understanding the underlying psychological mechanisms that motivate consumers to choose, stay, and advocate for brands is a critical endeavor in creating competitive advantage,” writes author, Charles Sinclair.

Charles Sinclair


Why Old-School Brands Like Gap Need to Learn New Tricks to Survive in the Digital Age –
Ad Age

To remain relevant, brands that have been around for awhile will need to reinvent the way they do business. And while most companies seem to have the digitalization aspect down, according to Jason Heller, partner and global lead for digital marketing operations and technology at McKinsey & Co, “Most companies are technology rich but insight and execution poor.” This means companies should be focusing on the customer experience which involves innovation. Author Dan Tynan says that businesses need to keep up with evolving customers. “Smart organizations are creating cross-functional, co-located teams (or pods) that can generate ideas, test and launch them in less time than it takes most organizations to set up an initial planning meeting.” 

Dan Tynan @tynanwrites


#IMC2018: The Science of How Brands Grow – Marketing News

Growing your brand hinges on how you make people feel. According to South Africa’s CEO of BBDO, Boniswa Pezisa, “We have to use these sentiment triggers, we have to arouse, we have to get under the skin of the consumer and get the right message across because you can do great creative work, but if the message is wrong and doesn’t move the needle in terms of market share and sales, we’re in the wrong business.” Commenting off this, author Jessica Tennant explains that the role of creativity is to trigger emotions from potential consumers. She says the trick is to release dopamine and oxytocin from viewers by “creating an element of surprise, a plot twist, discovery, climax, awe, humour, reciprocity or empathy, etc., and leveraging feelings of falling in love or a sense of safety, etc. for communication.”

Jessica Tennant @jess_mess_ica


The Irresistible Power of Neuroscience: How Financial Marketers Get Inside Consumers’ Minds – The Financial Brand

“Leveraging the principles of neuroscience, consumer psychology and behavioral economics can mean the difference between mediocre marketing results and campaigns that are wildly successful,” writes author Lisa Joyce. Using cognitive programming to create a rush of “feel-good dopamine” chemicals can get consumers primed to act. Some cognitive programming approaches companies can take are mental shortcuts, using keywords (“new”, “you”, “secret”, “free”) to increase readership, framing (how you position things), and releasing dopamine through the ability for consumers to win rewards or points.

Lisa Joyce

Can Rituals Trigger Creative Flow? – Forbes

Having a solid ritual can enhance a disciplined creative practice.  “Like creative flow, ritual promotes thought suppression–tuning out the inner critic, dampening brain chatter, centering and focusing the mind and decreasing anxiety before executing complex tasks,” says writer Andréa Morris. Throwing a meaningful ritual into your day jumpstart your creativity. And neuropsychologist and brain imaging researcher, Rex Jung, who studies creativity and intelligence adds, “while ritual may stimulate a flow state, flow is only one part of any creative enterprise. Creativity involves an intricate play between conscious and unconscious processes. You know Hemingway’s famous quote? ‘Write drunk, edit sober.’ The medial prefrontal cortex is important to novelty generation and improvisation. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the inner critic if you will, is more important to refinement.”

Andréa Morris @DraisyMorris


The Science of Branding: Part One – dma.org

Neuroscience can help marketers understand the decision making process of consumers. What scientists have discovered is that the human brain hasn’t changed very much over the past 2.4 million years. “Our instincts today are pretty much the same as the primal instincts of our hunter-gatherer ancestors – categorised as the 6S’s – survival, safety, security, sustenance, sex and status,” writes author Mark John. His takeaway for companies: leverage emotion to attract people (brands are the same as people, the value assigned to a person is largely based on how that person makes you feel. It’s no different with a brand.), be different (we are stopped dead in our tracks when we notice the unfamiliar-this is driven by our brain’s primal instinct to understand and learn), and lastly, etch out a unique angle in a generic marketplace.

Mark John
Lidia Barbuti @LidiaBarbuti7


How Creativity is Measured—And Why It’s So Difficult – Artsy

Psychologists agree that creativity is difficult to measure because it takes place over a broad spectrum of abilities which are relative to specific fields. A 2017 literature review gives an overview of how psychologists have approached measuring creativity. One of the researchers, Sameh Said-Metwaly, a PhD student at KU Leuven in Belgium, says that creativity involves “the production of something that is both new and suitable for a particular purpose or use…it is the ability to be different in a useful way.” Psychologists use four broad aspects to measure creativity called the “four P’s” and methods that comply. And to add to this measurement, Arsty author, Isaac Kaplan writes that “people in a specific field are best equipped to evaluate the extent to which something is creative.

Isaac Kaplan @IJKaplan



Your Brain on CreativityPsychology Today

A recently published research paper, “Robust Prediction of Individual Creative Ability from Brain Functional Connectivity” delves into the neurological signature of creativity and what happens in the brain during heightened periods of creativity. While performing cognitive tasks, participants had their brains scanned. Through this, scientists were able to conclude fascinating facts on creativity. “First, they found that self-reported measures of creativity correlated well with measured creativity performance, confirming the validity of self-report,” writes authorGrant Hilary. Other findings included that there “isn’t one ‘creativity’ area in the brain, creativity emerges from the interplay of complex brain activity involving multiple more basic systems”, creativity and intelligence are not correlated and that we can unlearn one track thinking and influence ourselves to have greater creativity. From this information Hilary asks some important questions, such as, “Could neuroscience be used to help people with writer’s block or artists who have hit a dry spell?”

Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. @GrantHBrennerMD

The Psychology of Innovation Reveals We Can All Be Inspired Geniuses With a Little Practice – Skyword

A new study reveals how individuals can be more innovative. Author Nicola Brown writes, “Innovation and innovativeness—rather than being a single, fixed trait—encompasses a set of skills that can be cultivated. The authors explain that ‘we do not need to try to create innovative characteristics; rather, we simply need to show individuals how to cultivate innovative thought.’” Some of the skills and abilities we can leverage to spark innovation: Abstract thinking, problem-solving, motivation, creativity, curiosity, taking risks with no fear of failure, positive attitude, persistence and passion, dissatisfaction with the status quo, open-mindedness, and vision. Brown offers tips and best practices for how to tap into openness and positivity around innovation.
Nicola Brown @NicolaThinks

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