Traditional Planning Primal Psychology

Is there something potentially very powerful that the insights of the last 100 years of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and the very latest discoveries of neuroscience can add to the planning process of brand communications?

Copyright Derek Draper 3rd October 2012

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The 3 elements of human motivation:



Traditional planning is founded on the rational, but knows that insights must also connect emotionally. It has also increasingly drawn on “behavioural economics”. Great advertising creative has always made strong emotional connections and played into our more primal motivations. But what is this third motivation – the primal – and is there a way of bringing its insights more into the planning process?
Copyright Derek Draper 3rd October 2012 Page 2

The 3 Elements of PRIMAL psychology

Our brains Our genes Our unconscious
These primal motivations are much more powerful than rational or even emotional motivations.
Copyright Derek Draper 3rd October 2012 Page 3

Our brains

What neuroscience tells us about how our brains work… Our visceral responses - to sex, desire, status, comfort and attachment - all come from the oldest, mammalian, part of our brains. These almost always trump emotions which almost always trump rationality.

Copyright Derek Draper 3rd October 2012

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Our genes

What evolutionary psychology and genetics tell us about our genetic disposition… Our genes programme us to behave in a way adapted for primitive life but often unsuited to modern life.

Copyright Derek Draper 3rd October 2012

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Our unconscious

What Freud and Jung told us (and neuroscience confirmed) about our unconscious… Much (up to 95%) of what we believe and do is beyond our unconscious awareness – i.e. we can’t explain it rationally. By much more than we appreciate consciously we are deeply affected by stories and by “collective” symbols and archetypes e.g. the sun, a cradle, a lighthouse , “the father”, “the hero”, “the warrior” etc. So, primal motivations are about storytelling, symbols and primitive drives and associations.

Copyright Derek Draper 3rd October 2012

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What might a primal focus add to the planning process?
Questions traditional planning might ask: What is this brand’s business challenge that communications can help with and what, therefore is the communications objective? What is the unmet need / desire of the consumer that can help us unlock the communications objective? (Who are they?) (What they do currently?) What can we say to them through communications to show our brand can deliver that unmet need? (Headline proposition + supportive messages) Why should they believe us? (Brand resonance / personality) Other traditional questions: What feelings does this brand evoke in us, if any? What do our minds already store as conscious associations / memories of this brand?

Further questions that arise from a “primal focus” about a brand or a brand communications idea:
Does it trigger anything fundamental in our mammalian brains? Is there anything it might trigger that would help us? Do we have unconscious associations to / memories of it? Are there any that we can create that would help us? Does it relate to any symbols or archetypes in our mind? Are there any appropriate ones we could use in our brand communications? Does our genetic disposition lead us to have a visceral response to it? Could we create something that would in a helpful way?

Leads to NEW qualitative research tool?
Copyright Derek Draper 3rd October 2012 Page 7