The Conscious Business
CREATING EMOTIONAL EXCHANGE WITH CUSTOMERS
Last month we looked at the compelling reason to adopt a left and right brain focussed business and marketing model that will grab the senses and imprint the experience into your customer in a positive way. A conscious business is only so as both hemispheres of the brain of its leaders are alive and consciously aware in the workplace, and in the marketplace.
If you aim to create a powerful loyalty bond with your customer then brand awareness becomes important. Branding your business is an art and a science in itself. I will leave it to others to describe in detail how best to go about creating the actual brand for your business. The emphasis on branding, the logo and any catchy slogans dominated marketing efforts in the 1970 – 1990’s era.
What I want to stress here is that the brand energy is the next most critical but intangible aspect of your company branding. How it works goes something like this. When the customer has that positive emotional experience or that bad emotional experience they imprint it in their limbic brain. As I have stated you really only get one shot at taking a new customer into a loyalty bond that can be persuasive, and resilient to competitors attempting to target your customers with similar products or services.
The term “first impressions are critical” is true as the brain looks to hold experiences in a way that creates paired associations. What this means is the brain will “tag” a strong positive or negative emotional experience using some of its primitive memory apparatus. In our evolutionary history we survived and thrived by the brain developing the ability to remember experiences mapped to the object that gave rise to that experience. This was particularly so for positive and negative emotionally charged sensual encounters with our environment.
For instance if we ate a green fruit from a tree that tasted bitter and gave us stomach pain then the brain embedded that reality as an association of “green fruit of that shape/size” to an associated pairing with “tastes bitter and causes pain”. When in the future we encountered a tree holding green fruit, the brain via the Thalamus and Limbic parts of the brain, made conscious via the neural linked pairing, the conscious memory of “tastes bitter and causes pain”. We then had to decide whether to risk that experience again or shy away.
Likewise positive experiences were also embedded and when we saw a tree with red fruit, for which we had embedded prior experiences of a positive nature, then they made an instant recognition of that fact and were attracted towards that same red fruit again. In some ways addictions arose in humans from the brain mechanisms that run this attraction/repulsion process. In the modern age marketing is pretty much about creating a positive craving or addictive response to repeated experience of the company goods and services.
Human beings relate to learnt experiences in this way with almost all aspects of life. With this knowledge a canny business operator knows that they must embed a positive experience in the brain of each and every customer where possible, as many times as can be achieved. Again repetition is a process of deepening the reality of human beings. Each time we confirm a previous experience we deepen our reality and belief system around that object or experience. We strengthen the paired association between the object and our emotional resonance to that object.
Remember then that emotional exchange will occur at the sensual (all your senses), mental and emotional levels of experience. You are reliant on both the environment that you create at the customer interaction points, as well as the human interaction for this to be a positive result. Think of the negative reaction that you possibly feel when you either get a machine or some foreign Call Centre operator who knows nothing about the business or your problem when you phone up for support. Taking a least cost model to your business is not necessarily the best strategy for customer adoption and retention
In terms of the most successful brand in history one may nominate Coca Cola as the leader in this field. You may be surprised to understand that the Catholic Church represents the most successful brand in history. The brand which employs a cross and its leader on the cross is universally recognised and evokes either a positive or negative image in the person who encounters it. For nearly 2000 years it has held sway in society as a dominant logo or brand that was attached to an offering that many were loyal to. It obviously helps that the Church was “selling” a product or experience that taps into the core of a human at the deepest levels of beliefs, values and mental, emotional and spiritual reality.
The church employed the best architects, the best artists, the most intelligent thinkers of each era to develop and evolve the brand, the “experience” and the product or experience via doctrines, commentaries, encounters etc. It has worked very well up until recently when our collective brains started to lose the emotional resonance with the church experience, and worse, started to develop new negative paired connections in our brains, such as “Church equals sexual abuse”.
The fortunes of business can be as successful and then suddenly take a turn for the worse just as the church has in recent times. Look at the News of The World newspaper, which had a 168 year lineage, and was the leading Sunday newspaper in Britain till the recently uncovered phone tapping scandal.
Rupert Murdoch knows that the negative effect of this new negative association between the newspaper and Abuse/Corruption, in the minds of the public, could become a contagion within the wider Murdoch press/media group. The whole brand and business had to be amputated and shutdown immediately before the negative emotional resonance of that scenario became more generalised by the public to a new association that could be Murdoch Companies equal abuse/corruption or some variant of this negative perception and pairing.
This is why companies need to operate from a set of values and ethics that underpin the way in which company and employee behaviour is conducted. One or two rotten apples can bring down the whole tree as we have just seen with the News of The World.
Next month I will talk about how the conscious business operator brings values and ethics into the customer experience to create the positive emotional resonance that drives business success.
Leadership Matters – Left and Right Brain Interoperability
The concept of operating from both your left and right brain appears an elusive concept. How do I do it? Am I already doing it now? What we know from Neuroscience is that some people are born or develop early brain operability into one of the left or right prefrontal brain lobes as the dominant way of processing information.
Some people and more generally women are shown to operate more or less generally across both prefrontal lobes when processing information and solving problems. This is why women can handle multiple problems or tasks on the go whereas many men struggle and get flustered when distracted from the one task at hand with a demand for dual or multiple processing of issues or tasks.
Women generally have a wider or thicker Corpus Callosum than men which is akin to the broadband cable connection between both prefrontal lobes in the brain. Women also possess more Oestrogen which apparently assists this dual processing brain capability whilst Testosterone in men inhibits it.
Despite these inherent design differences our brains are “plastic” or can through habit and repetition “rewire” to operate via different pathways and in different forms. This is the concept of Neuroplasticity. There are some basic exercises which can assist the opening up of the brain to be able to multiple process or engage both hemispheres of the brain in adults.
Remember that the “old” reptilian brain and the middle Limbic brain are body-centric brains inasmuch as they are fed information and activated by the body. To engage the overall brain function in a new way is best served by including the body. One good way to engage the brain is to engage the non-dominant hand-eye and body co-ordination aspects of oneself.
For example obtain 3 balls and practice juggling as a regular activity. This can be a powerful stimulant and can be done in a work office setting. It is a good practice to engage in when you are stuck with a problem that your dominant way of analysing and processing information from your left brain is not creating the breakthrough.
The act of throwing a ball with your non-dominant hand at a target can also achieve a similar result. The act of skipping rope can also be a body co-ordination technique where you are initially lousy at jumping the skipping rope. Learning to dance a formal set of dance steps are also a way of stimulating the brain if a person is not already conversant with formal dance.
The key is a novel stimulus for the brain that involves the body. Many “brain gym” style techniques exist and create benefit but some are restricted to mental level activity and this will not stimulate the brain as much as body inclusive activities or challenges will.
I will consider some of the ways to engage the emotional or empathic parts of the brain in the next newsletter.
If your business could do with some Emotional Intelligence training or coaching then contact us and lets discuss how we can assist you in your conscious business evolution.
Have a safe and productive month!!
Director, Conscious Business Australia