Thursday, November 30, 2006

What's Next - Strong Brands Can Raise Your "Good" Cholesterol Levels?

An article in the Tuesday, November 28, 2006 edition of the Wall Street Journal titled "This Is Your Brain on a Strong Brand: MRI's Show Even Insurers Can Excite" caught my attention. The subject of the article was a presentation at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America.

It seems that a study performed at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich indicates that there is a possibility that strong brands trigger strong activity in the portions of the human brain associated with "positive emotions, self-identification, and rewards." Now, before we all get excited that this provides biological grounding for business-to-business companies to jump on the branding bandwagon, there are several subsidiary, notable points:
  1. The population of study participants was very small - only 20 people;
  2. Only two brand categories were tested - automobiles and insurance; and
  3. The study did not indicate that the stimuli activated the decision-making part of the brain.

The use of brands has been part of the consumer/retail marketing communication toolbox for decades. Past postings in this blog have commented on the migration of branding into the business-to-business marketplace, as well as the impact branding can have on growth in not only revenue but also enterprise value. What I found intriguing about this article, and the underlying medical research, is the use of scientific methodlogies to attempt to explain a domain of business that, until now, seemed to always show up as "soft" and "existential" in my conversations with CEO's and mid-market business leaders.

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