An analogy with Cognitive Neurology answers why brands need to be on facebook and on other social media

Facebook is home to more than 800 million netizens.

It’s our memory as it reminds us of birthdays & anniversaries. It’s where people discover, collaborate & share.

It’s a 24×7 audience wanting to stay engaged, entertained and the perfect stage to create a name & liking for ourselves.

When Karsanbhai Patel launched Nirma washing powder in the Seventies, the launch television commercial was seen as bizarre. Even today, an unwritten norm of the advertising industry is that the brand name should appear just once, that too during the last few frames of the TVC.
In the Nirma launch commercial pack shots, brand usage shots and brand benefit shots and the brand name “Nirma” were repeated many times. The whiz kids of the advertising industry thought the commercial would be the first fall of a small-time Indian entrepreneur who was just learning the tricks of the trade.

When M. P. Ramachandran of Jyothy Laboratories launched Ujala liquid whitener to take on a large established MNC brand, he did not splurge on glitzy television commercials. The launch ad, of Ujala in local magazines, asked people to send in a short poem using the words Ujala, clothes and whiteness. Instead of using the best copywriters from the best advertising agencies to write eulogies about the brand, ideally in English, here was an Indian entrepreneur who was asking the consumers to write something about the brand and its benefits, that too in their mother tongue. While the innovative business ideas of Nirma and Ujala may have been replicated, the communication ideas during the launch of these two brands have never been fully understood. With the emergence of Cognitive Neurology as a fundamental science to explain all aspects of human behaviour, we are in a better position to decipher the science behind it. A memory is formed in our brain thanks to connections between millions of neurons and the electrochemical stimuli that pass between them. Any memory in turn is connected to several other associated memories. The strength of a memory depends on the strength of its neural connections..

All marketing activities aim to strengthen the neural connections between a particular brand and the benefit it caters to. But, how do we strengthen the brain’s neural connections?

If electrochemical stimuli pass between a set of neural connections repeatedly, the neural connections become stronger and stronger.

So, repetition of stimuli is the key to strengthening any memory.

This has been understood very well by organised religion and political parties, the real masters of mass persuasion. Repetition of prayers, chants and slogans are an integral part of their daily rituals. So when Karsanbhai Patel repeated the brand name and brand images multiple times in Nirma’s launch commercial, he was intuitively following a memory strengthening exercise that has been happening in the churches, temples and the streets of this country for centuries. After the Korean War, many of the American soldiers who were captured as prisoners of war came back from Chinese prisons as strong believers in communist philosophy. American psychologists who wanted to find out how this brainwashing happened were surprised to find that no violent methods were inflicted on these prisoners to alter their belief systems. Chinese authorities just got these American prisoners to write down what they wanted them to believe in.

Yes, getting your consumers to write down their liking for your brand dramatically increases their loyalty towards your brand.

Jyothy Laboratories received thousands of poems written by the consumers. There would have been ten thousand others who wrote a few lines on a sheet of paper or at least thought of a few lines of a poem in their brains. In the brains of all these amateur poets, millions of neurons related to clothes and whiteness would have formed a very strong connection with brand Ujala. There are many great marketing ideas that are lying unused because no one has discovered their true worth. To know their true worth we need to polish them using the science of cognitive neurology. So the next time you need to insert the line “I love XYZ brand” because… at the end of the brand contest form, would you consider it a legal requirement or as one of the most powerful ways to build strong loyalty for your brand?
# Article Courtesy: The Hindu Business Line, Oct 28, 2010

Social Media is an amazing ATL medium that offers:

an opportunity to repeat stimuli, to a crowd that is either partly or wholly interested in your brand, thereby strengthening their brain’ neural connections.

Facebook is a very effective BTL medium because:

by allowing brand communications to be more personalised & engaging, it has made the process of brand building more participative.