Branding Between the Ears Book Summary - Branding Between the Ears Book explained in key points
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Branding Between the Ears summary

Sandeep Dayal

Using Cognitive Science to Build Lasting Customer Connections

4.4 (177 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Branding Between the Ears by Sandeep Dayal is an insightful guidebook that demonstrates how to create a distinctive brand story that leaves a lasting impression on the audience. It offers practical and actionable steps to develop an effective brand message that connects with customer emotions and values.

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    Branding Between the Ears
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    Key idea 1 of 6

    An emotional consumer is a forgetful one.

    What is it that makes an ad effective?

    A lot of times, what we think will work – an idea that feels sensible, or a classic advertising strategy – actually ends up sabotaging what we’re trying to do.

    Here’s an example. The advertisers working for the arthritis drug Enbrel thought they’d found a great strategy.

    Their TV ad highlighted the biggest danger of leaving arthritis untreated. They showed this adorable little boy telling his young mother that he was afraid she’d end up in a wheelchair if she kept ignoring her arthritis symptoms. He’s confused, he’s scared, and he’s worried about the person he loves most. The ad then told viewers how people with arthritis could avoid that fate: by taking their medication. 

    The advertisers did this because they knew that people are more likely to remember something if it triggers their emotions.

    But, when the whole thing aired, they noticed a problem: while people remembered the ad itself, no one remembered the brand.

    Now, it is true that people remember things more when their emotions are triggered but it’s not the whole story. 

    When people have an emotionally charged experience, like watching a sad commercial, they’re more likely to remember the central element of the experience. But – and this is the caveat we have to keep in mind here – they are also more likely to forget any peripheral information surrounding that experience.

    In the case of this Enbrel ad, the peripheral information was the brand itself! The problem was that viewers were so busy with their emotional experience, that the overall message – to buy the arthritis medication – didn’t get through. 

    This little debacle shows why it’s so important to keep a balance between an ad’s emotional content and its branding message.

    This is a balance that Steve Jobs – you know, the famous founder of Apple – understood really well.

    In the early 2000s, Apple shot hundreds of ads for the Apple Mac, but only a handful of them ended up airing. And it’s interesting because the ads that didn’t make the cut were actually the funniest. They depicted this ongoing battle between an uptight PC user and a laid-back, cool Mac user. Fun, catchy, cute.

    But Jobs somehow knew that viewers would be so busy laughing at the ad’s characters that they’d end up paying little attention to the overall message of the ad: to buy the computer.

    If you’re a marketer, you probably think a lot about store shelves and billboards, or TV ads and product placement. But how much thought are you giving to the only real branding space that matters: your customers’ brains. We now know that the human brain is where all important branding takes place. 

    And still, we see countless examples of these concepts that have been used in marketing forever – like that emotion triggers memory – still being used. A lot of times these are outdated, or, like in this case, only part of the truth.

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    What is Branding Between the Ears about?

    Branding Between the Ears (2021) explores how marketers can apply the latest scientific insights to their branding strategy. It explores how the human brain responds to advertising, and how consumers really make the decision to buy or not to buy.

    Branding Between the Ears Review

    Branding Between the Ears (2021) takes readers on a journey to discover the power of branding in our minds and why it matters. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Exploring the hidden psychological factors behind successful branding, it offers valuable insights into how to create a lasting impression.
    • With compelling case studies and practical examples, it shows how effective branding can elevate any business or individual's image.
    • By delving into the emotional connections we form with brands, the book sparks curiosity and leaves no room for boredom.

    Who should read Branding Between the Ears?

    • Marketers and salespeople
    • Budding entrepreneurs keen to get their venture off the ground
    • Psychology buffs looking for fresh insights

    About the Author

    Sandeep Dayal is the managing director of Cerenti, a marketing and business strategy consulting firm. Dayal has 25 years of experience in marketing and branding strategy and has previously worked for McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton.

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    Branding Between the Ears FAQs 

    What is the main message of Branding Between the Ears?

    The main message of Branding Between the Ears is the power of branding and how it can transform businesses.

    How long does it take to read Branding Between the Ears?

    The reading time for Branding Between the Ears varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Branding Between the Ears a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Branding Between the Ears is a must-read for anyone interested in branding. It provides valuable insights and practical strategies in a concise format.

    Who is the author of Branding Between the Ears?

    The author of Branding Between the Ears is Sandeep Dayal.

    What to read after Branding Between the Ears?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Branding Between the Ears, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries
    • The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Magic Words by Jonah Berger
    • Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
    • The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton
    • The Idea Is the Easy Part by Brian Dovey
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch