Martin Lindstrom Feat

Ep 97: Martin Lindstrom and the Power of Small Data

Tmartin-lindstrom-headhis week, I have a very special guest on the Brainfluence podcast, my friend Martin Lindstrom. Martin is a best-selling author, a futurist of the first order, and one of the pioneers in explaining neuromarketing to marketers worldwide.

Martin is one of the world’s premier brand-building experts. He advises Fortune 100 brands like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Red Bull on how to build lasting brands. He has been the recipient of TIME Magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People,” and is a New York Times and Wall Steet Journal best-selling author.

Martin’s books include Buyology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, BRAND Sense, and Brandwashed. BRAND Sense was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as “one of the five best marketing books ever published.” His latest book, Small Data –The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends, is poised to upend the marketing world again.

Join us as we delve into Martin’s incredible journey into marketing, which remarkably started as a LEGO-obsessed child. Martin has built his career on traveling the world and honing his observational skills and knowledge through non-traditional ways. You don’t want to miss this episode as Martin shares his tips on how you can adopt his marketing techniques in your own business, without having to globe-trot 300 days a year like he does.

If you enjoy the show, please drop by iTunes and leave a review while you are still feeling the love! Reviews help others discover this podcast and I greatly appreciate them!

Listen in:

On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:

  • How Martin’s obsession with LEGO became his career.
  • Why Alfred Hitchcock worked from two scripts while making his movies.
  • How even water can evoke memories.
  • How product placement in markets can influence how customers view the store’s freshness.
  • How LEGO’s decision to ask children what they want changed the company.

Key Resources:

Share the Love:

If you like The Brainfluence Podcast

  • Never miss an episode by subscribing via iTunes, Stitcher or by RSS
  • Help improve the show by Leaving a Rating & Review in iTunes (Here’s How)
  • Join the discussion for this episode in the comments section below

Full Episode Transcript:

Get Your Full Episode Transcript Here

Welcome to the Brainfluence Podcast with Roger Dooley, author, speaker and educator on neuromarketing and the psychology of persuasion. Every week, we talk with thought leaders that will help you improve your influence with factual evidence and concrete research. Introducing your host, Roger Dooley.

Roger Dooley:              Welcome to The Brainfluence Podcast. I’m Roger Dooley. My guest this week will be familiar to most of our listeners. He’s a bestselling author, a branding futurist, and one of the pioneers in explaining neuromarketing to marketers worldwide.

I say he’d be known to most of our listeners in part because Amazon for years has paired his book Biology with my book Brainfluence. Try to buy my book and Amazon will immediately offer you his. That’s not his only book though. His book BRANDsense explored the sensory emphasis of branding and was called one of the five best marketing books ever published.

More recently, his book Brandwashed looked at nonconscious marketing strategies from a consumer point of view. He’s been named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time. If that’s not enough, at his website he’s got the expected endorsements from CEOs and Seth Godin but also from William Shatner and Tyra Banks.

Now he’s about to upend the marketing world again with his newest book Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends. Welcome to the show, Martin Lindstrom.

Martin Lindstrom:          Thanks, Roger. Thanks for the very flattering introduction. You’ve made me blush already.

Roger Dooley:              Oh well, our listeners won’t be able to see that so you didn’t have to mention that. But you have such a great resume and an eclectic set of interests too, Martin. It’s really great. We’ve known each other for years but we’ve never actually met in person. One of these days, I think we’ll probably turn up at the same conference but I’m looking forward to that day.

Martin Lindstrom:          Me too.

Roger Dooley:              So we know from fMRI that our brains find stories really engaging, Martin. I’ve got to ask you to start with one. You actually started your career as a brand expert at a really young age. So for those of our listeners who haven’t heard the story can you can you tell that briefly? I found that fascinating.

Martin Lindstrom:          Absolutely. I was and continue to be a LEGO maniac. So instead of just playing with LEGOs, I decided to go one step further back then and that was to create my own LEGOLAND in the backyard of my mom and dad’s garden.

Now I was very serious about this I have to say, Roger, because I managed to get a sponsorship from Sony and they flew me to Japan where I learned Bonsai tree cutting techniques. I even went to Sweden and had special rocks produced for this little LEGOLAND. I was based in Denmark back then.

So after one year of serious preparation where I created canals in cement and had all of these houses carefully created in LEGO bricks, I opened this theme park. The only problem was only two people showed up and that was my mom and my dad. So that was really the low point of my career back then.

So I promised myself I had really to change this trend. So I went to a local print office and persuaded them to sponsor me. God knows how I did that, but I did. And two days later I had 131 visitors showing up. Only problem was that visitor number 130 and visitor number 131 were the lawyers from LEGO suing me.

I said to them, “How can you sue me?” They said, “Well, it’s our brand.” I said, “No, it’s my brand, I bought all the boxes.” That was really the starting point, a true story about how I started to learn about brands. I opened my advertising agency the same year when I was 12, back in 1982. And had LEGO as my first client. So here we go, I’ve had LEGO as a client for more than 30 years.

Roger Dooley:              Well that’s great. If you have to ally yourself with a brand what a great one to be allied with.

Martin Lindstrom:          I was lucky, yeah.

Roger Dooley:              Everybody loves LEGOs.

Martin Lindstrom:          Absolutely.

Roger Dooley:              You know Martin, I really enjoy your writing because it’s always very forward looking. I think if a marketer wants to see how to do things in a changing future, you’re one of the go-to people for that.

The other thing is that you more than most authors certainly emphasize the nonconscious aspects of marketing.

It seems like so many, even big companies, still ignore the nonconscious emotional aspects and they focus primarily on features and benefits and pricing. These things are important, but you know obviously you’ve got to go beyond that sort of spreadsheet-driven thinking.

One of the things that I found that was really interesting in your book was a reference to Alfred Hitchcock. My dad was actually a film critic and an author who wrote a book about film in the 1930s and thought I would have known a fact like that but I found it really interesting that Hitchcock used two scripts. Can you explain about that?

Martin Lindstrom:          Absolutely, it’s a fascinating story. Alfred Hitchcock, when he wrote his movies always, as you’re saying, developed two manuscripts. He had the blue script which is really the rational script. That’s where you have the dialogue and where you show the props and the scenes.

Then he also worked with what he called the green script which is the emotional script. This is really a description of how you should feel throughout the entire movie as you’re watching it as a spectator. He would literally, second by second, minute by minute, throughout the entire movie describe exactly how he wanted his audience to feel.

“They should feel scared, after 30 seconds you should feel more in harmony, then you should build up anticipation.” As he would describe that throughout the movie he actually at the same time would align all his talks so to speak, around how to generate that feeling using the blue script.

So the green and the blue script is really two manuscripts running in parallel. You could say one is the tactical one and then the other one is the emotional one. As I’m talking a lot about in my book Small Data, what you are seeing in the future is that companies in general are too focused on the blue scripts and too focused on just making sure that all the nuts and the bolts are screwed together in the right way.

But they quite often forget how you should actually feel throughout the journey. I mean, if you walk into a supermarket chain, how many today operating in the supermarket sector would second by second describe how a consumer should feel throughout the entire journey from when they arrive to when they depart again?

That’s exactly what I’m trying to do, not just talk about in the book but also to do in my work with retailers of whatever I work with around the world. Because it’s such a natural way of working. Because at the end of the day as you point out Roger, very rightly, we are emotional. We are human beings. At the end of the day, what we remember the most is stories. It’s emotions, it’s feelings, it’s temperatures. It’s not all the rational stuff. I mean how many phone numbers do we remember today versus how many names? This shows the point that we need to be talked to in a green script way.

Roger Dooley:              Yeah, that’s such a great metaphor. Is there any backstory to how you found that? I tried doing a little more research and it’s not something that’s been really widely reported.

Martin Lindstrom:          No, it hasn’t. The story actually is that that when I started to do a lot of sensory work since 2003, I started to work with a British research team. One of the things, actually it’s a fascinating story I’ll tell you about it. Part of these research studies, we tried to find out how much memory is encoded into water.

I mean what a fascinating job because most people would say, “Well if you drink water what does it taste of?” And the feedback would be, “Water.” Right? But actually water has a taste built into it. I found out the reality around it, based on a study we did in China where Danone, producing Evian, the water brand, was struggling to survive because the town simply didn’t like the taste of Evian water and we couldn’t really find out why.

Because if you ask, again, people about what it tastes of, they wouldn’t be able to respond back because they have no references to anything but water. So what we realized was that in the old days when people were living in China outside the metropolitan areas, well they were basically getting the water out of holes in the ground. It typically would be sort of the moldy, earthy type of taste. And that would be linked together with the memory encoding of what they felt when they lived in these farm areas.

What we learned was, it’s fascinating, that it’s almost the same as when you watch the same movie again and again. We don’t watch the same movie again and again because we like the movie or because we’ve forgotten the script. We watch it again because it reactivates the emotion we had the first time we watched the movie.

And actually, that’s the same we learned for the water thing. That when you drink water or when you eat stuff, it actually activates an emotion. So it may be at a conscious level you feel you like the taste but at a subconscious level, you actually activate a certain emotion you had the first time you ate this food. Or you had a certain experience attached to it.

Which is the reason why people like champagne because champagne is always used at a positive moment. Based on that, this team told me about the Alfred Hitchcock story because they’ve been analyzing the blue and the green script of how tastes should feel like and taste like.

Roger Dooley:              Fascinating, I guess the Chinese water story is a bit Proust-like, although far more subtle than a cookie. You just don’t think of water as having such a distinctive taste that people could describe it even. We’ve had funny tasting water but it’s not the sort of thing that you know you’d describe like wine.

Martin Lindstrom:          No, no, it’s not. But I think you probably, like most people, will have certain very subtle smells in your life which means a lot to you.

Certainly from my point of view, I just came from Australia today. I’m in New York City now. But yesterday, I went down to the sea in Sydney and I smelled the smell of sea, you know? It’s salty… I don’t know, I can’t even describe that smell. And that subtle smell means that you’re alive somehow, it’s fresh somehow.

I think it’s very interesting to be aware of that—and you know more about this than most in the world—that it’s first when we have difficulty describing things, it really affects us a lot. That’s the subconscious part. One can discuss how a big part of it is of our brain but let’s say it’s around 85 percent. I think it’s even conservative to put that number on, but I think it’s fair to say that most of our life is subconscious.

And it’s first now we’re starting to realize how big impact it is. And most importantly, when we can’t describe it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s just affecting us at different levels, right?

Roger Dooley:              Yeah, Martin, a minute ago you mentioned supermarkets. I’m here in Austin, home of Whole Foods, and I loved in your last book how you described some of the interesting things that Whole Foods does to subtly influence the emotions of their customers. Things like preprinting things that look like chalkboards for prices, which connote an element of, “We just priced this because it’s so fresh.” When in fact they’re not really chalkboards.

Not that long ago I was in one of their stores here and you talked about their fresh fish, where they have fish with its head on and everything on a bed of ice. They had the most gigantic monkfish. I had never seen a monkfish before. I’d eaten it in restaurants but I’d never seen a whole one. It is the biggest, ugliest thing you can imagine. It’s big, it’s flat. It has this rather hideous expression on its face. It was there on a bed of ice for all to see.

Now I thought that was brilliant. Of course, I had already been cued in by your book to why they had it there. At first I was, “How would buy that?” It looked like something that Gordon Ramsay would use to scare a chef with, like, “Here’s your challenge, monkfish.” And pull this terrible looking, giant thing out of a cupboard.

But it was brilliant marketing because everybody stopped to look at it and it really conveyed, “Wow, this is a place that not only has very fresh fish but they’ve got exotic product and from all over the world.” It was great stuff.

Martin Lindstrom:          It is and I think in many ways Whole Foods were the—and to some extent still is—the pioneers in focusing on the experience in a supermarket environment rather than just focusing on the grocery aisles and the FMCG products standing there with an expiration date of 15 years. They’ve done extremely well.

I think the next generation we’re seeing now is that restaurants and the whole dining experience will move inside the supermarket full on. We do see that with Wegmans. We certainly do see that with Italy, which comes out of Milan which is going in Chicago, into New York right now, and a couple of other cities here in the country.

It’s very fascinating to see that the more you eat your food in a supermarket, the more you buy. Not only that, the more you actually are primed to believe it’s fresh because of course, I eat fresh food so why wouldn’t everything else be fresh?

My joke a little bit with Whole Foods were that if they would design the supermarket where they will just have cans of soup and cans of tuna at the entrance, and only that, you would immediately be primed to believe that everything is not fresh but they basically went the opposite way and placed everything that is fresh at the entrance which certainly has primed I think most of us to fundamentally believe everything is fresh.

Roger Dooley:              It’s great stuff and they do a really nice job. So Martin, we’ve got to talk about your latest project. I know I’m sure attend some conferences when you’re not doing your in-field research.

One of the things that you hear at—certainly I hear at every conference that I go to—every speaker manages to work big data into their presentation somehow because it’s the thing that everybody’s talking about. Not that everybody can even define exactly what it means. But your new book is called Small Data, which first of all, I think is a brilliant title because it’s always good to zag when everybody else is zigging. But explain what you mean by small data.

Martin Lindstrom:          Well, small data is not only just a provocation to exactly what you’re saying, the extreme obsession the business world have had and still have today around big data. I define small data as seemingly insignificant behavioral observations that point towards one or more unmet consumer needs. So you could say that small data is the foundation for breakthrough ideas and a transformative way of turning around brands.

I think the best way to explain that is really to tell you a true story which have not been revealed before now with my book Small Data. Back in 2002, the LEGO Company were having huge problems. I remember that period because the founder and the owner, not the founder because it’s the third generation now, but the owner was very much in panic because basically the company would be as close to bankruptcy as half a year.

So what they did was to commission a huge study. They did conclude out of the study using small data—not small data but big data—that the instant gratification generation had arrived. That the future generation playing with LEGOs would basically not have the patience to combine those thousands of bricks into a castle, into a car.

Out of that, they basically decided to change the size of the LEGO brick from the small, tiny building blocks to huge, gigantic building blocks. Where you would typically see perhaps five or six hundred building blocks in a box. Now they would reduce it to 70 or 80.

So you could basically build a castle in a matter of minutes rather than in hours. The sales went down even further and in 2002, the Christmas sales—which are really 75 percent of LEGO’s entire turnover for a whole year. That was the moment when the whole concept of small data was born.

A team from LEGO went into a home of a German boy outside Oberkochen in Germany. This 11-year-old kid was surprised to see these three businessmen in his room. In particular, when they asked him a question which were slightly different because they asked him what he was he proud of. This young kid paused for a second and then he points at these sneakers, worn-down sneakers standing on the shelves. He says, “This is what I’m most proud of.”

The LEGO team was pretty surprised about it. Look at this worn down sneaker, because it was literally incredibly worn down, with holes in it, and smelly. They say, “Why?” The kid is replying back, he said, “Well, this sneaker is the evidence that I’m the best skater in town. You see, when I’m skating, I slide down at an angle of 12 and half degrees. That generates exactly that worn down sole you have on this sneaker. This is my evidence for me being number one in my city.”

That was really the second when the penny dropped for the LEGO team because they realized that even though the instant gratification generation was around, if you give kids the power to be in the driver’s seat, they will spend thousands of hours on their passion.

This really led to two different decisions for the LEGO team. One was to change the size of the LEGO brick back to the small, tiny bricks again. Second, to put kids in the driver’s seat. Not just by using storytelling but also to invent The LEGO Movie.

Well, I think the rest is history, today LEGO is the number one player in the world. But it also was the second the whole idea about small data was born because had LEGO not seen those seemingly insignificant behavioral observations in that little bedroom, well then LEGO probably wouldn’t have been around today.

Roger Dooley:              Yeah, great story. One of the other interesting stories you have is comparing refrigerator magnets in Saudi Arabia and Russia and drawing some conclusions from that. Why don’t you explain about that?

Then also, I’m curious whether you get pushback on this sort of thing from clients where they just say, “Refrigerator magnets, this is crazy stuff. Bring the next expert in.”

Martin Lindstrom:          Yeah, exactly. I think it’s fair to say that we all leave human DNA behind ourselves. Not just physical DNA as a detective would leave behind, but also emotional DNA. I mean the way you sit, the way you gesticulate, and the way you use your toothbrush. All of that is leaving clues behind ourselves.

Even the fact that we’re using a remote control in a certain way can tell something about you as a person. I’m not sure if you’re like me, but I press extra hard on the remote control when my batteries are flat. Just some naïve thought that I think I can squeeze out the last battery. Which actually tells a lot about who we are as people.

If you have large picture frames and very colorful paintings in your home, it would tell a lot about your personality. In fact, it would tell you that you’re very confident. If you place your coffee table book in a certain room, you’ll know that that is the perception room.

That is the room where you want to show to the world who you really are. Which by the way, is exactly the same space as when you go on Facebook which really is the perception space. That’s how you would like to be seen as, remember, not who you are.

So this emotional DNAs we believe behind ourselves, tells a huge story about us. Quite often it’s not a story you can get out of people by asking them a question. If I was to ask you if you have a high level of self-esteem, I’m pretty sure that most people will not say, “No, I have a low self-esteem.”

We all sort of somewhat lie, somewhat pretend who we would like to be rather than who we really are. So that’s where the small data comes into account because small data really is revealing a second layer, that green script we talked about with Alfred Hitchcock. That’s really coming to reality here and that’s exactly what we talk about when it comes to those fridge magnets in Siberia.

This is a true story, even though it sounds like a really bad story when I tell you this, but I literally got this call from a Russian client with a very broken accent. He basically said to me, “Martin, I’d like you to come to Russia and build a brand for me.” And I answered back, “So what brand are we talking about?” He said, “Well that’s for you to find out.”

So I said, “Well, what industry are we talking about?” He said, “Well that’s for you to find out.” And literally that was where the story began. He hired a private jet, in all luxury, and flew up to Siberia. With my team we flew across Siberia for several months with a mission to understand consumers in Russia.

As we traveled around Siberia, which by the way in its own right is a fascinating story, I didn’t know Siberia was that big. I knew Siberia was big. But literally we’re flying one hour every day. After about a week, we had moved six hours of time zone and were half an hour away from Tokyo. I mean, that’s how big it is.

But what we discovered in those homes with these small data, these insignificant, seemingly insignificant behavioral observations, one of them was the fridge magnet which were placed at a certain height a certain motifs on them. Now as I noticed those, I really didn’t really think about more than when I went to Saudi Arabia later on another client assignment actually earlier than this Russian assignment.

I didn’t learn that these fridge magnets meant a lot. In many ways, they had two different symbolic meanings. One is, it’s a way for us to encapsulate the emotions we like to have. It’s almost like this is the moment where we’re freezing time and we’re looking at it every day.

It’s almost like we’re preserving it, like we were preserving old flowers. Then we’re decorating them on our fridge instead, which by the way is placed there because it’s close to our heart and our survival. It’s a way for us to get fueled for anything every day.

I knew also based on studies we’d done in Saudi Arabia, where by the way I also noticed people were wrapping their remote controls in plastic because it was a way for them to get fear out of their lives. Because a lot of women we noticed in Saudi Arabia were afraid. What we noticed is that the higher these fridge magnets are, the less they’re used by children. The lower they are, the more they’re used by children.

Funny enough, they’re very high up in Saudi Arabia yet the consumption of toys are very high in Saudi Arabia. They also have the youngest generation of any generation in the world. But in Russia they’re very low, that meant that even kids could reach them and play with them. We then realized out of that that was actually a replacement for toys. Which actually led to the development of a new toy company in Saudi Arabia—sorry, in Russia—based on these small insights.

But all of that combined also added up. This is what’s so fascinating about small data, that it’s a cumulative. The more of these data points you add, the bigger picture you get, the more accurate it is. It’s almost like connecting the stars in the sky, heaven, and suddenly you have a whole painting coming up. Well that was the same here.

What I realized was that that the community which the Russians still had, which is really a community of people sticking together in a tough time, particularly when it’s cold outside as it is in Siberia. That community was almost completely gone in the U.S.

We started to do investigations in the Midwest, in the North Carolina area. And there, yes, for sure there was a lot of community going on but it was all online. There was almost no physical community anymore. And if there were, it was very sort of encapsulated into small pockets.

So what we decided to do was actually to learn from the experience of those fridge magnets in Russia. Because they were in many ways symbolic for us learning that these communities were gone. We basically reactivated a physical community in the Midwest by creating this new supermarket chain called Lowes where the community would be physical and active inside the supermarkets. So people would meet the local farmer, they would meet the local chef on a daily basis and actually interact in a physical way rather than in a digital way.

So this is a story about how this is really the premise of the whole book, how I constantly throughout the book is picking up these insignificant observations and suddenly they, combined, are creating this amazing picture. Which some say it seems almost like, “Jesus, where did he get that from? He’s making it up.”

Perhaps I am. Perhaps I am. But I’m making it up perhaps in my rational mind because quite often in the subconscious mind—so our instinct—I think it’s fair to say that our instinct is an accumulation of experience, we just can’t connect the dots in a rational way. We just feel in a certain way.

I think it’s also fair to say that time after time as we follow those small data and trust in our instinct, it turns out to be a huge success story.

Roger Dooley:              Well you have to notice them in the first place I suppose. Now obviously, you do this work by travelling to many different places and cultures and so on. For a more average marketer, do you have any tips for how they might go about enacting this on their own perhaps somewhat smaller scale?

Martin Lindstrom:          Absolutely. The first thing is that we’re not present anymore. I mean when I’m standing in a bar waiting for someone what’s the first thing you do if a person is late? You grab your smartphone and you just do something with it, anything with it to pretend like you’re not a loser, right? Also, because we get bored in a matter of seconds, not a matter of hours and we’re never bored anymore.

But there’s another issue out of that. When you’re not bored, you’re not creative. Because creativity comes out of being bored because that’s where you’re forced to create a story. But it also allows you to be observant, to be present. And were not present anymore. Quite often you’ll bump into people on the streets. That lack of presentness, if you could use that word, means that we don’t see things. We don’t see things around us.

So the first thing you should do is to become present. Now I know this is very provocative what I’m saying right now, but I don’t have a phone anymore—I have a phone which I never really use anymore. It’s been a very very hard detox process to go through, believe me.

But it’s incredibly revealing once you don’t have a phone because then you are forced to be present. What I tend to do in the airport for example, is I close my eyes and then I do a game with myself. I try to pretend like I can see with my eyes closed and try to describe how people look like. How they’re sitting, who they’re talking with. What’s going on.

I have to tell you one thing, Roger, the more I do this exercise the more I can see with closed eyes. That has happened not just in the airports but as you visit as I’ve done around 2,000 consumers’ homes across 77 countries over the last ten years.

It’s almost like you start to be able to look through walls because you sort of start to connect those dots in unusual ways where our brains, I think in one way or another, are more clever than we are at a rational level. And suddenly you just have a feeling for what’s going on in the next door room. The first way to step into this mindset is really to close your eyes in the airports.

Once you’ve learned to see through your closed eyes, the second thing you should do is to talk to people you wouldn’t talk to, live with people you wouldn’t live with. That may be slightly difficult because it’s out of your routine. I mean how often do you go into a consumer’s home, a consumer you don’t know, and live in their home?

I can tell you very few people are doing that. It is a really really rewarding exercise. Time after time I immediately get product innovation ideas out of that. But what it also does is it forces you to be able to see the world from another person’s point of view.

With all respect to Rupert Murdoch, you know he owns his 300 or 400 newspapers and Fox and Wall Street Journal, well one of the stories about him is that every morning he reads around 50 to 100 of his newspapers, every morning.

And what he does is that he calls his editors whenever he has issues with some of the headlines and tell them that that consumer, that reader will not like that headline. Now how the heck does he have that talent? Well because he’s done it so much that he can see the world from a consumer’s point of view.

That is really the most valuable thing coming out of small data, to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and use those techniques by closing your eyes. Or perhaps even by going down to your local hairdresser in that city you’re investigating and ask them about how the local population see the world. I’ll tell you, after two hours, you’ll know more about the world in that region than even the local does.

Roger Dooley:              That’s good advice and not necessarily expensive advice, as long as you don’t have to go to Siberia to do it. You can do it in your own backyard.

Martin Lindstrom:          Exactly.

Roger Dooley:              You mentioned airports, let me ask you one final off-the-wall question here, Martin. Do you have any particular travel hacks or some piece of travel gear that you simply couldn’t be without? We could probably all learn from the air miles that you collect.

Martin Lindstrom:          Yeah, and do you know what’s so ironic with those air miles? I have a lot of them and the more you have, the less you want to use them because you simply don’t want to fly when you’re off.

Roger Dooley:              Exactly, that’s the irony of frequent flyer miles. The more frequently you fly, the less you want to do that for recreation.

Martin Lindstrom:          Exactly. Yes, my advice is fairly simple. If you really want to be avoiding jet lag, then you should go into the time zone even before you jump on the plane. That’s incredibly important.

The second thing is that you have to be incredibly disciplined the first 48 hours as you arrive. So you can’t go in and suddenly have a very very long five-hour sleep during the day. No, you follow your routine exactly as you have to do in that local community and only sleep for one hour after you arrive in that state.

I actually don’t take any drugs or have any tricks like that. It’s never worked for me. But I fly around 300 days a year so I’ve overcome it so far. I think at the end of the day, these rituals people invent is probably just an emotional sort of pillar you lean against in order to convince yourself you’re not affected. I think we all have to find different rituals we can relate to. My ritual is I have no ritual.

Roger Dooley:              Great, well your body probably doesn’t even know what time zone it’s in with that amount of air travel.

Martin Lindstrom:          It’s completely messed up. No, I tend to say to people, “My stomach is like an inflight catering company.” That’s how bad it is these days.

Roger Dooley:              So let me remind our listeners that we’re speaking with branding expert and bestselling author Martin Lindstrom. His newest book, which I highly recommend, is Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends. By the time you hear this, it should be out or just about out.

Martin, how can the listeners find you and your content online?

Martin Lindstrom:          Well I’m almost everywhere, so of course, Martin Lindstrom, M-A-R-T-I-N-L-I-N-D-S-T-R-O-M dot com. So is a good place to start. You’ll also be able to follow me at Facebook/MartinLindstrom where we’re updating posts almost every hour right now I think with videos and stuff.

Then there’s the usual suspects, the LinkedIn, which is by the way Lindstrom Company. Or Twitter, all these different places. So, most of the places.

And yes, the book you can find on Amazon or any of these independent stores across the U.S. which I highly recommend you to support because they are our lifeblood in our society to go into these stores and smell the books. There’s nothing better in my opinion.

Roger Dooley:              Very sensory experience. Well, great. We’ll link to all those places along with Martin’s other books and any other resources we talked about in the show on the show notes page at We’ll have a text version of our conversation there too.

Martin, thanks for being on the show.

Martin Lindstrom:          Roger, it’s been absolutely a pleasure. Thanks for some great work on your side as well.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Brainfluence Podcast. To continue the discussion and to find your own path to brainy success, please visit us at

Join 23,647 smart marketers like you.
Better results, less money! Get my newest, best ideas free!

Leave a Reply