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I am a massive believer in understanding associative memory.
I’m not as extreme as Clotaire Rapaille … but I do believe that if you uncover someone’s first experiences with a particular situation, environment, product or category, it can give you a clearer understanding of what the individuals real relationship is with that situation.
There are many people who don’t subscribe to this point of view and that’s fine, but recently a friend showed me something that – in a very roundabout way – highlights why looking for someone’s frame of reference may give us more understanding about their actions and behaviour than the classic ‘insight’ model, favoured by so many.
[For the record, I am not dissing insight. I am a massive advocate of it and believe in it’s importance and value … however the way many people/brands go about identifying it [not to mention, what they actually classify as an insight] is both bewildering and embarrassing]
Have a look at this.
What do you see?
If you said a naked woman being held by a man, then this would indicate you are probably over the age of 12.
For the record, if you said a naked woman being held by a man that is sexually stimulating to you, this this would indicate you need help. Fast.
The reason I say that is because my friend – a psychologist – told me that when he shows this vase to young children, they see something entirely different.
Because young children don’t have any associative memory for ‘intimate couples’, they see dolphins.
No, I can’t see them either – not even one of them – but the point is, while our associations can evolve, if you look for where they began, you might get more insight into how to fundamentally change attitudes and behaviour than anything ‘big data’ can tell you.
In short, it may be the difference between infiltrating culture and playing only within the confines of the category.
Of course, it’s not easy, but then anything worth something, rarely is.
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