Dary Weber Feat

Ep #112: Brand Seduction – How to Make Your Brand Memorable with Daryl Weber

daryl-weber-headThe mood, feeling, and attitude that your brand presents to the world are processed in seconds. Consumers can make the decision to buy (or not buy) your product in a fraction of that time. This is why it is extremely important to focus on how your brand is perceived by your target audience and what their first impression of your product is.

Sounds like a daunting task, right?

Luckily, today I’m joined by Daryl Weber, an expert in this field. Daryl has worked with brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, Johnnie Walker, Gatorade, Pampers, and many more. 

On this episode, we’ll be discussing how the unconscious side of brands connect with their audience, and how creative marketers can use this information as inspiration for new campaigns.

Daryl earned a BA in psychology from Columbia University and resides in Atlanta with his wife, Jennifer, and son, Avi. His new book, Brand Seduction: How Neuroscience Can Help Marketers Build Memorable Brands, is recommended not only for its sage marketing advice but also because it delves into the question of why those particular marketing strategies work.

Previously, Daryl was Global Director of Creative Strategy at The Coca-Cola Company, where he oversaw brand strategy for many of the company’s global billion-dollar brands. Prior to that, he was a Director of Strategy at Redscout – a boutique brand and innovation consultancy where he advised Fortune 500 companies on new product innovation and brand positioning.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can improve your brand, listen in to hear an expert’s opinion and get a sneak peek at what he recommends for small/startup businesses.

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 consumers make decisions about your brand.
  • What specific audience you should be focused on.
  • Why it’s important to shape the conversation around your brand.
  • Why everything from ads to location in the store affects peoples’ perception.
  • How to combine all this information so you can shape your ideal brand image.

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Full Episode Transcript:

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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 is a branding consultant whose work has influenced many of the best brands in the world, including Coca-Cola and Nike, Johnnie Walker, Gatorade, Pampers, and many more. He was global director of creative strategy at the Coca-Cola company, which I guess you could say is the real thing. Although, he’s probably too young to have actually invented that slogan. His new book is Brand Seduction: How Neuroscience Can Help Marketers Build Memorable Brands. This book explores the unconscious side of branding. Welcome to the show, Daryl Weber.

Daryl Weber: Thanks, Roger. Glad to be here.

Roger Dooley: Yeah, it’s really great to connect. I thought we might be able to record this in Dubai, but it was such a busy time. I ended up not taping any shows there. Sometimes the technology works a little bit better this way, anyway. Less background noise, although I guess that would give it a real feeling, if we had some marketing conference background noise to make it real.

Daryl Weber: Right.

Roger Dooley: Daryl, for starters, you were a psychology major at Columbia. How did you get into the world of advertising and branding?

Daryl Weber: Right, I studied psychology with a focus in cognitive neuro, but I didn’t think I wanted to be a psychologist, but I was actually fascinated, really from a young age, just at how brands and advertising specifically, worked. One advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi actually recruited on my campus at Columbia. I thought they seem big, they seem legitimate, let’s try them. It turned out being a great educational opportunity for me. They’re a big, standard, global advertising agency. I got to work on big brands from Procter & Gamble, like Pampers and Old Spice, and General Mills, including a bunch of their cereals, and just really get a experience. I became a strategic planner there, so involved in understanding consumers and briefing the creatives and really fine tuning the messaging of our ads and how we’re going to connect these brands to people.

Roger Dooley: After that Daryl, what did you do?

Daryl Weber: I left advertising and actually decided to go into innovation, or new product development. I joined a firm called Red Scout. They’re an innovation and brand strategy consultancy based out of New York. Worked on a bunch of great brand there including Nike, Pepsi Co., a bunch of their brands like Gatorade. Worked on G series, if you’ve heard of that, kind of before and after workout products. I was involved in their naming, positing, the new product development and brand strategy. Also worked on a lot of liquor brands from Diageo, so Smirnoff and Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker, Ketel One, lots of great brands. It was a really good experience. I then looked at doing something entrepreneurial.

I was trying to launch my own product and company. Came very close to doing it, had a full plan, and product developed and a team ready to go. Unfortunately a competitor launched a very similar product and pulled some of my investors out. That was fizzling. Then I got the call from Coke. It seemed like a great position, great opportunity. Obviously great brands, global experience. I thought it would be interesting, so my wife and I picked up from New York and moved down to Atlanta. It was about four years ago. We left Coke and I’m not consulting, freelancing, doing brand strategy, and I wanted to focus on writing the book. I’ve been doing that lately.

Roger Dooley: What was the product that you were going to launch?

Daryl Weber: It was actually a low calorie vodka. It was one of these ideas I had in the back of mind for a long time. There wasn’t one that existed, but I thought it was possible to make. I had looked into it and I actually developed the product with a co-packer, a manufacturer, and developed a full brand. Obviously that was my expertise. I got some partners on board who had developed some vodka products before, got the investors going. It was pretty far along, but a competitor launched, and they’re out now, still selling pretty well. Then actually some of the bigger companies got in and they have a bunch of flavored light, low calorie vodkas now. It’s become a big market, but of course I spent a few years trying to convince people it was a good idea before it could get it.

Roger Dooley: Sometimes the pioneer is the one who ends up with the arrows in the back. Let’s jump back to Dubai for a minute, the neuromarketing conference there where we were both speakers. What were your big takeaways if any, from that conference? It’s always cool to get the entire range of people from the neuromarketing world together in one place. Did you come away with any overarching conclusions or takeaways?

Daryl Weber: Yeah, I thought it was great experience. It was so interesting to see different people from neuromarketing and all around the world and with very different points of view on it. There’s a lot of firms and corporations who are looking into neuromarketing and it still feels like it’s an early field. I know you have been one of the early pioneers in it, and have been working on it since back in the day. It still feels to me like it’s a [inaudible 00:04:50] growing field, still trying to define itself really, because it seems like people have almost different definitions for what it is. Part of the reason I wrote the book is because I was seeing this trend in neuromarketing towards it being seen as something that happens at the end of the marketing process, or the creative process.

t seems like still most of the talks and the side bar discussions I had with people were still focused around that idea that neuromarketing is really a way of testing advertising and marketing materials, whether that’s design or packaging, or in store, or digital. That’s the, I think the traditional way of looking at it with neuromarketing techniques and brain scans and things like that. I think if you took a broader look at what neuromarketing can be, and I really define it as just using neuroscience understanding to be better marketers, and to create better marketing materials.

Roger Dooley: Pretty close to my own definition, which some people find overly broad, but I like it.

Daryl Weber: Yeah, I think it just encompasses more. It’s using, we have all this research in science that exists out there, and that’s where I came from. Really just a fascination with the brain and the mind and consciousness and how it works, and how the unconscious influences our decisions. Then thinking about how we can apply that to how we build brands and just really be smarter marketers, ask smarter questions. Just in the last 15 years or I’ve been working in marketing, I’ve been surrounded by all these great marketers, but they all seem to have different opinions for how marketing works. It really seemed that people are just making assumptions or guesses almost as to what we’re developing in terms of our marketing and designs and packaging is influencing people and effecting them. I thought there should be a lot more rigor here, and there actually is a lot of this science that exists, but unfortunately it seems stuck over in the academic circles and maybe in the market research groups. It doesn’t seem to be getting over that chasm to the creatives and the agencies, the people who are actually making the marketing materials.

I hope to bridge that chasm with my book. I wanted to explain that science in a way that’s hopefully creatively inspiring and interesting. A lot of what I saw in Dubai was still reinforcing that, that it’s mostly market researchers were there, or the neuromarketing technicians and agencies who were providing the services. I actually was asking around and there aren’t many, or any really agency side people or creatives there. That’s where I think the big opportunity is, is getting it over to those people who are actually creating the marketing materials and could really benefit from a lot of this information.

Roger Dooley: I think in my talk I actually asked for a show of hands for folks who were creatives and didn’t get many takers on that. I think the model is still sort of the mad men model where Don Draper comes up with the genius ad concept and then neuromarketing, maybe today determines was version A of the ad better than version B, as opposed to really figuring out what the brand perception is and maybe what that concept should be.

Daryl Weber: Yeah, I think that’s right. Even when you say the word creatives and marketing, it almost brings up this idea of mythical creatures that are fed unicorn blood somewhere, or the minority report. The group of the pre-cogs, I think it was called. I don’t think we need to treat it as such a magical formula. Obviously there is an element of art to it, and it’s surely creative and very difficult obviously to create great marketing and advertising materials. I still have a ton of respect for great creatives, of course. I just think being smarter about how the brain works, and how our consumers’ minds are perceiving these materials, digesting them, how they’re influencing our unconscious and decision making. That’s just going to make them smarter and better as they’re making creative decisions. It doesn’t have to take away from the creative inspiration, or the craft and art of the creatives. I think it can actually enhance it.

Roger Dooley: For those folks that want to accept the input, I think, I know in my talk I showed some creative elements, how some really apparently trivial differences in fonts and colors could dramatically change perception or behavior. That’s something that I don’t think they teach in graphic design school. Instead, you’re looking for something that looks good, that strikes people as being creative. That’s great, because obviously those first impressions are really important, too. You can’t just slap something up there and expect it to work. You really need a blend of artistic inspiration and creativity, combined with some of the research to come up with the optimal versions of anything.

Daryl Weber: Yeah, that’s right. I think actually graphic designers, you bring up the point of colors. I think designers are the ones who get this the most. They know intuitively that different shade here, or a different font or type face there, a different angle, is really going to make a difference in how our brand feels, and how it connects, really unconsciously in a way. That’s not that rational consciousness message that a lot of marketers trying to push, but designers know that that different mood and personality that you assign to a brand is going to be super important with how you consumers then relate to that brand. I try to get that across to the more traditional marketers and people that are creating advertisements.

It seems almost when you get to the world of advertising you get stuck in key message land, or unique propositions or reason to believe, that you lose sight of actually just the feel and mood of the brand can be super important as well. That’s a lot of what I talk about is how to be strategic about not just the rational message that you’re saying, but also thinking strategically and planning properly for that unconscious feeling of your brand as well. I think if you add that as part of brand strategy and creative and communication strategy, one, you’ll be smarter about how you build your brand and build stronger brands. Two, it actually liberates your creatives and gives them a lot of really interesting feelings to work off of, and it almost becomes the job of an artist where you’ve defined the feeling that you want to get across and now it’s what’s the best way to get that feeling across? That becomes their job.

I think a lot of the creatives I’ve worked with really appreciate that and like that way of thinking where it doesn’t give them such straight conscious straight guardrails, but actually liberates them to explore this mood and feeling of the brand. I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. I think people are just starting to understand that in a deeper way.

Roger Dooley: Daryl, let me compliment you on brand seduction. The cover is great. Since we’re doing audio here, I’ll describe it as a close up of gorgeous perfume bottle on a dark, reflective background, just the gorgeous product shot you would expect for the fragrance. The title is actually, the title of the book is the label of the bottle. Perfume is really a perfect example of what you’re talking about in your book, because I’m guessing if you asked 100 women why they were the brand of perfume they do, almost all would say, “I like the way it smells.” I’m sure you would disagree with that as the underlying reason why they buy that brand.

Daryl Weber: Right, exactly. I think fashion brands, I’m actually just writing a blog post about this exact topic. I think fashion brands and luxury and fragrances, they I think do what I describe in the book, better than a lot of people. Those brands often get some slack for not being very strategic in the traditional sense, but actually I think they’re very smart about the personality they’ve created for their brands, because that’s really all they have. They’re not going to sell you on rational or functional benefits or features. They don’t try to hit you with a very conscious message. They typically don’t say anything at all. It’s just a mood and they evoke an emotion. It’s a very visceral thing.

They’re very clear about what that emotion is that they’re trying to tap into. They understand what that feeling and mood and personality of their brand is and how that’s different from their competitors. They know that their consumers are going to be attracted to that personality, or not. Here’s how we’re different from our competition, and they’re in a way very strategic about the mood and feeling of their brand. That’s really what they’re selling, that prestige, that class, that lifestyle image. I think other brands can learn from that actually, where it almost seems that they get distracted by their functional benefits and then lose sight of the personality of their brand and how important that is.

Roger Dooley: You were talking about vodka before. You start off the book with a contrast between Ketel One and Grey Goose, which really, at least from my view point, they taste the same. I guess they cost about the same, but they have very different kinds of drinkers. When you asked people though why they prefer the brand, it was, “I like the way it tastes.” Or, “I just prefer it.” How did you tease out the differences in why people preferred a particular brand?

Daryl Weber: Yeah, vodka’s a fascinating category for that reason. By definition it’s supposed to be tasteless and odorless, so like you said it’s really hard to taste the difference between them. I’ve done room temperature, neat tastings, which I don’t recommend. It doesn’t taste great. We’ve one them in business meetings at 10:00 in the morning, which was no fun. You really couldn’t, I couldn’t tell the different.

Roger Dooley: Shades of Mad Men.

Daryl Weber: Yeah, exactly. You have to be pretty well trained. Of course, people who love these brands will say, “Oh no, I know my brand for sure. I could taste the difference.”

Roger Dooley: Or the same people can taste the difference between Coke and Pepsi.

Daryl Weber: A lot of it’s in people’s heads. Then it’s the brand of course that matters so much and that’s making the difference. Consciously when we talk to people about the differences between Grey Goose and Ketel One, they had a very difficult time teasing them apart. They seemed like yeah, they’re both premium. You see them in the same places. They’re for the same types of people. They both seemed like smooth, elegant, premium vodkas. When we dug a little deeper, and these are where projective techniques come in in market research where you try to dig below the surface and get at this underlying psychology of the brands. We did things like story completions and collages in particular. The collages were really telling on this. We had people in focus group settings and they’re telling me that both these brands are exactly the same in every way, but then when I had them do abstract collages and I pushed them to be very abstract to the feeling of each brand, how does this brand act and it’s personality? The images that they put on these collages were starkly different.

Roger Dooley: Explain how that collage method works, Daryl.

Daryl Weber: Sure, we just get stacks of magazines and it feels almost like a kindergarten arts and crafts class, where you have glue sticks and scissors and magazines. People are given a few minutes, 10 minutes or so. Just flip through the magazines, pull out any image. These are magazines of all topics, not related to alcohol or drinks, or anything like that, all kinds of cars and lifestyle and vacations. They flip through the magazines and they pick out any images that they feel relate to how they connect to that brand, or images that they feel bring to life the mood of that brand. They have a big sheet of paper and they’re allowed to just quickly just cut them out and put them on there.

When you put these images from Grey Goose drinkers versus Ketel One drinkers next to each other, they looked totally different. The Ketel One drinkers actually take that brand to a very masculine place, where they’re taking images of boxers and muscle-y, weathered men and scotch, the images of scotch or dark liquors, and things like poker nights, cards, very traditional. Steakhouses. Classic dark spirit whiskey type occasions, but they were bringing it to this vodka and there was something about Ketel One that just felt masculine and fit in that world for them. It was bold and robust and something authentic about it, versus Grey Goose, if you looked at those, it was very clean, sleek, minimalist, cold. A premium, elegant.

One story that I tell in the book is that a lot of people, it must have been five guys said, “Ketel One’s the brand you can just slam down on the table. Somebody can bang it down on the table and not be worried about it.” Where Grey Goose, is the one you have to gingerly place on the table. Clearly there was really big differences here in how these two brands felt and the personality of the two. It doesn’t come from the marketing. They couldn’t remember consciously any of the marketing they had seen. There wasn’t any message about it. It wasn’t the price. The price is about the same. The taste is about the same.

What we found it came from was really just the look of these bottles. Again, going back to graphic design and how important that it is with them viewing your brand with a feeling or a personality. Ketel One has these bold ridges. It’s a bit more robust looking. It has this old font and typeface and lettering. All those things combine to give it this old school, real deal vodka feel, and actually made it feel much more masculine and just more bold. Where was Grey Goose has much more elegant, refined, delicate type features. That gave it its feel. None of them would really say directly, but clearly that was coming from it.

It’s also important to note, this was a very zoomed out way. It’s not like they inspected these bottles. It was really from what they see across a crowded, smokey bar potentially, because we asked people to write down things about these brands. Most people misspelled Ketel One. It’s spelled K-E-T-E-L, but they spelled it the traditional kettle, K-E-T-T-L-E, or you ask them where it’s from or what year it’s made, all that’s right very big actually on the front of the bottle. They would make guesses, but not get it right.

Roger Dooley: They actually hadn’t studied the bottle at all. Interesting. Did Ketel One reinforce this with their advertising, or was this really mostly the work of the bottle design?

Daryl Weber: They ended up yeah, reinforcing it with their ads.

Roger Dooley: After the fact, or had they been traditionally used masculine imagery and so on in their answer?

Daryl Weber: No, they hadn’t been, but the campaign up until that point was, it was called Dear Ketel One Drinker. There was bold letters that were written to Ketel One drinkers. Just plain white pages with the Gothic font saying something to Ketel One drinkers, no imagery. No one we spoke to could really remember those ads, so they seemed to be low conscious awareness of them, but after we created this brand positioning and we understood what was driving the brand that this masculine feel to it was so important, and this authenticity feel. We created a brand positioning and strategy around that and they ended up running with that and briefed their creative agency off of it.

The campaign that ran for a few years after that, called Gentlemen, This is Vodka. That was their tagline, and it very much played up this masculine imagery. There was guys in undone bow ties playing poker with glasses of Ketel One on the rocks, very classic masculinity. Came right out of our research and brand strategy and positioning. It’s nice to see when it really comes to life that way. The brands been doing really well, and I think that resonated with consumers.

Roger Dooley: Interesting. You talk a lot about brand fantasy. Does every brand have a fantasy, or if they don’t have their own, is it imposed upon them?

Daryl Weber: Yeah, I would say every brand does. It’s really my way of talking about a brand’s equity, but doing it in a more strategic and aspirational way. It’s not just what people connect with your brand. It’s where you want your brand to go, and the fantasy’s really my model for how then you can plan that and give something that’s really very nebulous and hard to define. Give it some parameters and a way of using it and working with it, and being able to brief people, whoever you’re working with who might touch your brand. If that’s designers or advertising people, or really anyone who’s involved in it.

Even if it’s a brand new brand, as soon as someone sees that brand for the first time, that design, the package, where do they see it? Who do they see it with, a price, all these little things are going to add up in their minds whether they think about it or not. Our unconscious mind is working all the time. It’s picking up all these little things. Evolutionarily we were programmed to do this, and it’s making a judgement about these things. The first time it sees your brand, it’s tagging it with all these bits of information.

Those then are going to combine to create this gut feeling for that brand. Is this a brand I’m attracted to? Does it feel like it’s for me or not? Does it feel like it’s for someone else? Those first impressions are going to be very powerful. Of course, brands that have been around for a long time have built up this fantasy over their many interactions people have had with them, where they’ve seen it over the years, familiarity with it, how they’ve seen it talked, the personality, the tone of voice that it’s taken, all these things are going to add up to that brand’s brand feeling and fantasy.

I use that term as of a way of thinking strategically about a brand’s mood and personality, which typically, when I speak with big marketers and I speak to a lot of different industries as a consultant, the brand mood and personality seems to be relegated to an afterthought. It’s a few words on their brand document. It’s like, oh yeah, our tone of voice. They’ll usually have a few words. Half of them seem to have the word authentic in it. It’s just not really thought about that much, and it’s often left up to the designers and the creatives who then do it by feel. The marketers will then say, “Oh, that feels like it’s on brand,” or not.

What I’m marketing for is that there’s an opportunity to be just a lot more strategic and thoughtful about what that brand feeling and personality is, just because it is so important and this is what a lot of the argument is in the book is that our unconscious is really relating to a lot of those cues of your feel and mood of the brand. If we can be smarter about how we’re building that, we’re just going to create stronger brands and have people connect to them more.

Roger Dooley: Daryl, you can contrast Apple and Samsung and of course Apple has the brand that everybody wants to be, but what is Samsung’s fantasy, or what’s your guess?

Daryl Weber: Yeah, it’s a tough one. They don’t have much of one. I think if you had to probe on people, they feel a bit, maybe nerdier in a way, and not in the cool, nerdy way. A bit more scientific, Korean, if they know that about them. There’s just not an aspirational lifestyle element to the Samsung grand. They make great phones. Feature wise, I think they’re par for par. They’re head to head with Apple in a lot of ways. Of course gear nerds will talk about the specs of these products and say they’re often better in terms of megapixels or RAM or memory. Really, when you talk to average consumers, they’re not cool. They’re not exciting. You don’t want one. You don’t crave it. It doesn’t have that salacious value that an Apple product has.

Obviously Apple does a lot of things well. It’s cliché to bring up Apple, but one thing they do great is just how beautiful and elegant the design that they have with everything they do, of course in their products, but even in how they talk about their products. I think they’re a great example in not just talking about emotions and hitting emotions very directly, they just [inaudible 00:22:18] their brand with this elegance and simplicity at everything they do. It just comes across in everything. They don’t really say, “We’re about creativity,” super directly. They just do it and live it. I think that’s really smart.

A lot of brands, I think try to own an emotion or hit it very consciously and directly. I think consumers are seeing past that and it feels a little bit weird to be told what emotion to feel. I really like how Apple really talks about their products in a lot of their advertising. It’s often a product demonstration, so very functional in it’s message and conscious message. The mood then, the personality and the tone of voice are really what separates that brand and makes it feel so different.

Roger Dooley: I guess the feeling I have about Samsung, I guess I haven’t noticed it that much lately, but one thing that they seemed to do for a long time was focus very much on airports around the world and you could go into practically any major city and as you’re approaching the airport, you’re going to see giant Samsung billboards. You might see Samsung promotion somehow inside, whether it’s signage or even sponsorship of luggage carts and so on. To me, that was smart in a way, because it made Samsung feel like an extremely global brand. I could be in a Latin American country and they’re dominating the scene there with their advertising. Where would you tell Samsung to go if they hired you tomorrow?

Daryl Weber: I think you make a great point. That’s one of those things of where you see it, and how you see a brand is going to affect your feelings towards them. Obviously global travelers might be a core part of their audience. Maybe they’re doing well with that. I was taking more of an American view on it, which maybe they’re not as focused. Maybe they’re letting Apple take that market. If they were going trying to go against Apple, and maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re going after it in different ways.

In terms of their brand personality, I would say understand where your competitors are strong, and how you can build on, maybe it’s technical expertise. What is it in your equity and in the feeling of your brand that you have right now? Maybe that is some technical expertise and see where you can ladder that up. What is a bigger point of view you can take and feeling and mood that you can stand for that’s built off something you have already in your DNA? I think they do have a seed of something there, a nugget of something.

Roger Dooley: I think they definitely have a technology feel, but you really believe that their technology is very good, and they’re often innovating in technology. I wonder if they almost couldn’t borrow something from Lexus with the relentless pursuit of perfection, not stealing those words of course, but somehow conveying this theme that they’re using this innovation to create the perfect product. We’ll see if they pick up on that, if they’re listening in.

Let me ask you a question, a lot of our listeners are smaller and medium sized businesses, maybe entrepreneurs. For these folks, branding is really important, but obviously they can’t take the same approach to branding that a Nike, or a Coca-Cola can. What do you suggest for new brands, new companies, or smaller companies that are trying to develop a new brand that don’t have a lot of money to spend? Where should they begin?

Daryl Weber: Yeah, sure. It’s a great question. I think what I tell a lot of small brands is to realize that branding isn’t, first of all it’s not an endpoint. I think a lot of people think okay, I’ve created the logo and the design and that’s my brand. Now I’m done. No, first of all your logo and design, it’s just one element of your brand, and actually represents the feeling and everything else that lives under that. It’s also just a starting point. Once you’ve defined what your brand is all about, if you’re a new company or a new brand starting, now you have to do everything else to make sure you’re living up to that brand and laddering up to it and building everything towards that same idea.

Really, it’s thinking about everything you do as a company as part of building your brand. Where your products are distributed, how it looks, how you talk about it, how even your customer service emails are written. All these little things are going to be parts of how how your consumers relate to you as a company and as a brand. If you’re doing interviews and PR or anything like that, it all relates and connects. Branding is definitely not just the focus of design. It’s not even just the focus of marketing and the marketing department. To me it’s much broader than that, and it’s your entire company is building your brand. It’s the first thing I’d say.

The second is when you are thinking about marketing, don’t just think about the conscious message that you’re trying to get across. It’s not just, and when I say conscious message, it’s not just rational and functional features. I think a lot of marketers know they’re trying to connect in emotionally. Even when a lot of marketers try to connect emotionally, they’re often talking about conscious emotions and saying it in a very conscious, literal way. I mean they should also focus on the, what’s called meta communication, which I talked about in the book and others, like Robert [inaudible 00:27:03] has spoken about a lot where it’s how you tell your message. This is when the tone of voice and the fonts and the look and the style, all that becomes so important.

I would say just make sure they’re spending as much time on those sorts of things and how they’re saying their message as they are on what they’re saying, because their consumers are going to relate to their brand on those ways as well. A lot of research is showing our unconscious is going to relate to those. They can be as important, or even more important than the content of the message. Realize that everything you do is branding. The tone and how you say things is as important as what you say.

The last thing I would say is a lot of new companies are doing market research. Maybe they’re talking to their consumers and trying to figure out what’s going to work, what’s not. This is the classic realm of neuromarketing. I would say make sure you listen past beyond just what people are telling you. Obviously there’s a lot that goes into good market research. I find a lot of entrepreneurs in particular, especially with the lean startup method becoming very popular now, where they’re talking about testing an iterating. People are going out, showing their MVP, minimal viable product to potential consumers, their target, and getting feedback on it.

It’s often very conscious, quick feedback and they’re not digging in and they’re not looking past what the conscious mind is saying. That’s obviously a lot of what neuromarketing techniques are trying to do, right? Dig past the conscious mind what the brain is telling you, what the unconscious mind is telling you. Even when you’re doing quick, dirt and dirty qualitative research just talking to friends or putting together some small focus groups or surveys, remember to look beyond the words they’re saying, and try to get at why are they saying these things? What’s the context around it? Where are they in their lives? How does this fit to their goals and dreams and aspirations?

It might sound crazy, but it’s really getting to know them at that level and understanding the context in which your brand fits in. That’ll just help you be smarter about understanding the conscious reactions you’re getting to your products. Then maybe asking better questions, better probes, and then doing things like the projective techniques that I spoke about earlier. Collages, and stories. There’s a lot more. If you look up projective techniques, you’ll get more, but really making sure you’re understanding that unconscious side of your brand as well.

Roger Dooley: I think the good news is for folks that do want to employ neuromarketing techniques, the cost is really coming down. I could see [inaudible 00:29:15] brand standpoint, things like implicit testing, giving very useful answers, potentially without spending a lot of money. Now, all the tools may not be out there yet, but implicit testing is really just software and it could be a mobile app. It could be a website and would let people make choices that would help build a brand image, both for ones own brand, or also for the competitors. I think it’d be really interesting if you were launching a new brand to look at who you thought the major competitors were, and developed a emotional profile of those brands to figure out if there’s an opportunity.

Getting back to your Ketel One example, if the other brands in the space were viewed as being more elegant, perhaps not feminine, but perhaps there’s an opening for a masculine brand or perhaps there’s an opening for a very feminine brand, who knows. These tools are really becoming increasingly accessible now.

Daryl Weber: I love the implicit association test in particular for the reasons that you’re saying. One, it’s cheap and easy to do, but also I think the value can be huge, especially for a new brand who’s trying to figure out what are the associations of competitors who are out there, where’s the white space that I can attack and get in there. If you’re a more established brand, understanding what are those associations that are currently connected with your brand. How can I build on them? Where do I want to get stronger, weaker? Because it is so cheap and easy to do, I think a lot of brands can take advantage of it. Like we saw in Dubai, I think there was a ton of great research firms that are now deploying different ways of doing it, different methodologies. Yeah, it can be done on a smartphone. I see a lot of potential there.

Roger Dooley: We’re just about out of time. Let me remind our guest that we’re speaking with Daryl Weber, author of Brand Seduction: How Neuroscience Can Help Marketers Build Memorable Brands. Daryl, how can our listeners find you and your stuff online?

Daryl Weber: Thanks, Roger. It’s been a pleasure to be here. They can find me at That’s D-A-R-Y-L-, dash, Weber, I’m on Twitter at Branded Cortex.

Roger Dooley: Great, and we’ll have links to those and the other resources we discussed, and Daryl’s excellent book on the show notes page at We’ll also have a text version of our conversation there. Daryl, thanks so much for being on the show and best of luck with the book, I really liked it.

Daryl Weber: Thanks, Roger. It was fun.

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

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  1. Colin Finkle
    Colin Finkle08-24-2016

    Thanks for the conversation! I did a review of Daryl’s book on my blog:

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