Today's businesses can learn a lot from neuroscientist and Nobel Prize winner, Eric Kandel. His text, The Age of Insight, analyzes the intersections between psychology, neuroscience, and art and how these fields played a pivotal role in each other's development. Kandel analyzes theories such as Alois Reigal’s “beholder’s involvement.” This important theory insists that art is incomplete without the perceptual and emotional involvement of the viewer. In the modern commercial age, this sentiment translates into the manner consumers interpret a brand’s products and services. Kandel’s The Age of Insight is centered upon the human mind and its relationship to art. For businesses, it is also a brilliant medium to understand how consumers interact with various products and services.
To summarize a few of Kandel's thoughts:
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When an individual creates art, the work is inherently ambiguous. The artist’s creation reflects their own life and experiences. Similarly, the viewer observes the art in their own point of view. The interpreter re-creates the art in their individual brain.
- People interpret what they see based on past experiences. The perception of the art is constructed by an individual's cognition. Since different people have different cognitive processes, the same image can be interpreted multiple ways.
- Memory establishes the contextual information that the brain relies upon to interpret the art. Memory serves as the glue that binds one mental life together and is fundamental to the way the brain decodes information.
For brands today, the “art” Kandel speaks of may be likened to products and services. Brand images are directly connected by the products and services that the companies produce. Kandel’s analysis regarding the “beholder’s involvement” can help brands better understand their consumers.
Based on Kandel’s analysis, it is important for businesses to consider:
- Products and services should be designed with the consumer in mind. The purpose of new products can be unclear to consumers at first. Businesses often fail to recognize that consumers observe the product through their own perspective, which is unique. Consumers may not necessarily react to a brand’s product in the way the businesses expect.
- Kandel emphasizes that perception is constructed by the cognition of the individual. Therefore, consumers interpret products and services based on their own individual tendencies. One message may resonate with one consumer, but the same message may be unclear or even offend another. The perception of a business is constructed by cognition – and every consumer’s is different.
- Business must recognize the significance of a consumer’s memory. The business’ historic values and actions play a critical role in the perception of any new product or service. The long-term implications of actions must be considered. People don’t forget things that happen to them. In fact, the consumer imposes their own personal memories on the product – good or bad.
Your brand it a work of art – treat it like one.
Contact the My-Take team to learn how an insight community can connect your brand with your consumers.