Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hire Globally, Succeed Locally

Companies have realized that to grow and develop innovative solutions from product development to problem solving, it’s best to have a diverse, international staff, writes Jeffrey Pfeffer in his Business 2.0 article, “Recruiting for the Global Talent War”.

Although diversity in business has been caught in a cultural war of quotas and political correctness, multiculturalism can bring people with a wide diversity of experiences with the benefit of insight developed from growing up in another country, or extended periods of working overseas.

In most developed countries birth rates have dipped below the replacement level. This means that when managers retire, the line to replace them may shorten drastically. In China, Hewitt Associates says there are few seasoned executives older than 40 because of the dramatic effects of the cultural revolution. Colgate Palmolive employs 20,000 employees in China but few Chinese managers.

It can be a challenge for companies to overcome their innate “homosocial reproduction” tendencies, says Pfeffer. People naturally identify with people who are similar to them. It takes more effort to hire and promote people different to us.

Employees need to cultivate global expertise by working internationally even if that means a tough relocation.

By picking employees that can offer a wide range of insights derived from international experiences, you may develop a more sophisticated outlook and are more likely to develop more innovative solutions. By being more open to hiring people with a variety of backgrounds, you’ll build a stronger business.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Brain Science that Keeps Couch Potatoes Seated

The next time a store prepares its latest advertising pitch, they may look at the results of brain wave activity from an EEG machine as well as their market research. Neuromarketing is a new approach to finding out how the brain responds to marketing and the discipline is making waves in the advertising community.

Neuroscience combines clinical psychology and neuroscience. Employing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) and electroencephalography, EEG machines that are mobile, less intimidating and less costly.

The global advertising industry is worth $358 billion, but neuroscience companies hope to grab a share of the market.

British firm Neuroco is one of those firms. Based on its neuromarketing research it presented the ideal way to structure an ad to maximize brain response and get viewers in the ideal mode to buy the company’s product, in this case an SUV.

• Establish the mood
Pulsating music in an outdoor setting as the SUV plows down a highway creates
increased EEG activity in the left frontal lobes suggests a sub-conscious emotional

• Build Tension – show the SUV narrowly avoiding a group of baby seals on the highway – the drama creates a massive frontal lobe response, more heart flows to the brain and alertness increases.

• Deliver the message: three seconds after the tension dissipates and the mind relaxes as people see the SUV is on an unobstructed path into the sunset, hit the audience with the new information.

Neuroco plans to evaluate the subliminal of colors, logos, and product features. It can gauge the impact of music or jingles, celebrity endorsers, and retail design that have the most positive impact on consumers. They can even measure such subtle effects as the feel of automobile upholstery and the sound of a car door slam.

The experience has demonstrated to researchers like nothing else has the power of emotions in decision-making and advertising is particularly well disposed to taking advantage of that. Erik du Plessis, the author of The Advertised Mind: Ground-Breaking Insights into How Our Brains Respond to Advertising.

Perception of short term rewards is controlled by the limbic system. Emotions come first in response to a sales pitch and exert a powerful influence on how we make decisions.

Stanford University communications professor Byron Reeves cautions that advertisers shouldn’t transmit brand messages or product claims during an emotionally aroused phase of a commercial. Instead they should do it immediately afterwards when the brain is best disposed to receive the information.

If you can develop a marketing campaign that has a powerful but positive affect on how people view your company and its products, you’ll build a stronger business.