THE FORGOTTEN SENSE

”A great soundtrack can enhance a restaurant experience, make guests stay longer and spend more.”

Probably nothing new you would say, but when digging into the study* HUI released last Tuesday I found some real treats.

Firstly: The fact that music and sounds rarely exists in today’s design strategies? When thinking about it I find it so obvious that it should but I haven’t included it earlier either. Well – starting now! No more brands left unaccompaniment leaving my table again.

Secondly: People actually care – playing songs that fit the brand including both songs from Spotify’s top list and songs that are less well known takes you way further than, not only random pop songs, but also songs that do fit the brand, but that are from Spotify’s top list and well known.

This highlights the importance of daring to make it even more personal and surprise them with the brand’s strong personality. They don’t have to recognize it from somewhere to be a success.

And a last one – sweets are the category most available to influence by music of them all! + how cute that fries got their own category?

Music mainly activates areas of the brain associated with emotion, motivation, planning & reward. That’s why it is such an effective influencer when it comes to decision makings, but don’t forget that you can use this as a tool in your everyday life too! For me music is the first choice when trying to affect the way I feel. And also, what’s not to love about turning everyday moments into scenes from movies?

What’s your theme song at the moment? I have two: Olof, kära Olof & Die Young

xLinn

*The study analysed nearly 2 million purchases during 20 weeks across 16 restaurants in Stockholm. You can read the entire study here.

I KNOW A BOT

”Her name is Anna, Anna is her name”. This is the lyrics from a summer hit produced by Basshunter, me and my classmates sang in 2006, as we said goodbye to high school and stepped into our future. Little did we know that ten years later this could actually be a reality.

The Swedish bank SEB recently introduced the world to their new co-worker and digital employee, Amelia. She has actually been working on the bank’s internal IT support for a while and soon she will also be helping the public. When putting a face to artificial intelligent and robots it becomes crucial to not only make them look like humans but also make them act like humans, in order to make us emphasize with them and trust them. When we see a face we instinctively want to know who they are. I mean, who is Amelia? Is she a cat person or a dog person? What’s her story?

The recent popular HBO-series Westworld attends to this gap between human traits and robot functionalities by giving the androids fictional characters and story lines. Characters which humans can relate to and even fall in love with. 

Okey a sideline to this subject, but a reflection I had when I watched Westworld was that it doesn’t matter if we are in an artificial world, in the world of Game of Thrones or our own reality: Sex and violence are always on the human agenda. The world will always change but the human brain never follows, or will it? As far as I know sex and violence is an age-old story that will stay no matter what.   

Westworld

Anyway back to the subject. Taking this market development to my world, the advertising world, it will become all of our jobs in the near future to create characters and storylines to our new digital friends. Whether it is a customer service bot, a receptionist android or other, they will all need a story to tell in order to be truly welcomed into the human world.

Of course, some warning bells rings when us humans start to emphasize with robots. But really, what’s the difference between robots and other fictional characters, or even products? I know you all have felt emptiness the last time you lost your smartphone or at the end of the last season of your favorite TV-show. Myself have shared deep emotions with Anna Karenina, Harry Potter, Ugly Betty and many more fictional characters and stories. It hasn’t hurt me at all, rather the opposite. Hopefully the next android I get to know will do the same. 

Fun fact, it can actually be easier to feel empathy with a fictional character than our real family and friends, since we get to know them on a much deeper level and get extreme details about their lives (weaknesses, strengths). We can all thank the little lobe in our brains called supramarginal gyrus, the home of empathy, which is the place our fictional feelings take place. 

So whats my point here? Sharpen your pens, and prepare yourself to a new area of a super fun communication creating bot characters. Just as content agencies rose from the ground a couple of years ago, we will probably see the creative android/robot agency pop up soon.

xMaja

                                             robot

I got inspired to write this blog post from a future trend event hosted by Aller media at Allerdagarna 2016.

EMBRACE OR DISGRACE

A friend at work recently told me about the parable of the boiled frog. Here it is: If you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately try to jump out. But if you place the frog in room temperature water, and don’t scare it, it’ll stay put. If you gradually turn up the temperature, the frog will do nothing. As the temperature rises, the frog will become groggier, until it’s unable to climb out. Though there is nothing restraining it, the frog will sit there and boil. Why? Because the frog’s internal apparatus for sensing threats is geared to respond to sudden changes in the environment, not to slow changes.

What inspired me to this post was a discussion at work about services disrupting our beloved e-mail, such as Slack. And then the frog story felt like a revelation.

So how does one make a change since we are very much the same as the frog? Al Gore used a version of the parable when talking about the climate change and how no one cares. Just like the frog, we’ll just stay put until the world is boiling.

Consequently, gradual change can be a good thing as it doesn’t scare anyone off. Taking the target group on a journey they can easily digest, for example, the constant small app updates. Although, if you are in need for them to actively do or change something that might require some effort from their side – don’t go easy on them because nothing will happen. In that case, the “step by step” philosophy surely can be discussed. But of course, it’s important to remove barriers. Malcolm Gladwell calls it “The Tipping Point” – a small alteration that tips you over from making excuses to taking action. It can also be put as removing the habits making it harder to follow through with your new ones.

But wait, we’ve almost forgotten the most important of all – reward! What’s the benefit from performing that new habit? The more it’s enlightened, the more dopamine the brain sets free when proceeded. It can be a fake one like pigeon superstition, or simply the targets verbally telling themselves they’re awesome or how you consequently are being more effective at work. Just remember – work that dopamine, and it will all get easier.

Okay so to sum up, when wanting people to actively form a new behaviour, don’t go easy on them! (hint hint) But give them the tools to feel fulfilled from doing it.

xLinn

 

LONG LIVE THE WORD

No one has probably missed the rumour that in 10 years all information and media we consume will be video. It was Zuckerberg who first said it at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress in February and its following debate declares the end of written content. This is something that kind of freaks me out, because I can all ready miss the written word and feel sad as more and more friends tell me they never read for fun anymore.

Consequently, many of my clients do video content. Then there are two main things occupying my mind. 1. When making one for social media, I find the music part so tricky. Should we add it at all or is it just annoying? If yes, is there any money so we can use some actually good tunes? Of course, the answer varies. For (me) myself (and) I usually watch videos in my feed with the sound completely turned off, as I almost always watch them on the go or at the same time as I have my stroll-to-the-office Spotify list on. 2. Then, when swagging to Sylvan Esso’s “Could I be”, the videos that don’t have copy on them explaining what I’m watching become completely useless. And I become upset. I can read thousand times faster than a person talks and if I’m actually gonna LISTEN to news there better be a copy giving me more information at the same time.

See where I’m aiming? Here the written word is suddenly of absolutely highest importance.

To see if this was more than just egocentric thinking I went into the world of Google. Yesterday I found data on WARC from the company Sharethrought’s research, indicating that 76 percent of us Gen Z:s enjoy watching videos in silence and read a description instead. Also, the headline is what impacts 84% of our mindsets whether to watch an infeed video ad or not.

Finally, I could make a reassuring conclusion and sleep well for the night, as the written word certainly isn’t dead. It’s in fact more essential than ever in order to gain attention and I dare to say it will never disappear from our feeds.

Pjuh.

xLinn

MAD TO BE ALONE?

Everyone fear being alone in public places. We all use shields such as our phones, computers and books to show the world no vulnerability. The phone protects us against all evil, or at least people judging us for not hunting the world in a couple or pack.

This summer I visited Almedalen, a political week on a Swedish island crazed with people, happenings and of course rosé mixers. During this trip, I was completely alone for three days and three nights.

I saw these days as an opportunity to challenge myself by not hiding behind security blankets but being totally naked and exposed to the world. If I didn’t have anyone to talk to at a mixer I didn’t check my phone, I stood up proudly taking in the environment. And guess what? When you don’t have a shield protecting you, you actually invite people to come up to you. During the time I was alone I meet more inspiring and interesting people than I did when my fabulous friends joined me at day four.

Why are we afraid of being alone? There is a phenomenon called “The spotlight effect” that refers to the feeling that when you are alone in a social context you usually would be with someone, such as a rosé mixer, you feel that everyone is watching you and judging you. But it turns out, this is only in your own head. Think about it, did you judge the person being alone the last time you saw one? Did you even care enough to reflect on that person? Or did you even go up to that person to talk? I don’t know about you but I’m not judging and based on my own experiences of being alone, it can be kind of awesome.

So, why not try it out professionally? Today I’m one week into my new life, running my own business as a strategic planner and brand adviser, and it feels thrilling. Anything can happen, good or bad. I know I will collect a lot of experiences and meet awesome people on the road and that’s good enough for me to take the leap of the uncertain of being alone. I call my company Madness since this all feels pretty mad. I also I love people who are mad and sometimes I think I’m mad. The ad business is mad and a life without madness would be absolutely boring!

xMaja

 giphy_mad

EMBRACING CRAZINESS

The word crazy is defined as a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns (Wikipedia). Today it’s used more lightly such as noting the behavior of a, a) “crazy” girlfriend making demands b) people breaking norms or c) just, “he crazy”.

I recently traveled to New York with Linn. It was my very first visit to NY (if you don’t count the TV-series). It was quite fun, I actually knew stuff about the city than some of the people (friends) who lived there didn’t even recall. The Blue Note, Hello! How are you not familiar with it? I thank SATC, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Seinfeld, Girls, Gossip Girl, Ugly Betty, How I met your mother and more, for all the New York knowledge I’ve gained over the years.

Anyhow. What I loved most about the city was that crazy people were out in the open and lived free, walking next to me on the streets. No one flinched or frowned when someone appeared abnormal. It was the opposite – welcomed. In Sweden, we can be a little crazy too. Buying a pair of ”fun” sunglasses or grooming a different kind of looking beard. I feel in a lot of situations misplaced. It’s too normal to handle. But I have to admit, the Swedish culture affects even me sometimes and the NY spirit got me wondering who I would be in a more diverse environment. I want the world to be set free from the fear of being judge and letting people do whatever they feel like.

In my business (advertising) I believe you have to be crazy to survive. A normal person won’t endure in the long run. And a normal person won’t change status quo. One of the most famous adverts in history is Apples ”Here’s to the crazy ones – think different” (1997, TBWA/CHIAT/DAY). The ad gets me inspired to let my thoughts and personality free. To not be afraid to stand out the crowd.

People who stand out won’t always be liked, but as Apple puts it, you won’t be ignored. So, embrace your craziness! The world would be a lot more fun if we aren’t all alike. And we would definitely have memorable, fun lives.

xMaja

Apple, Here’s to the crazy ones – think different

A TOUCH OF…

Me and my friends quite often talk about intimacy. And how the touch such of someone stroking your arm when walking by, playing with each others hands etc, should be part of our every day actions. And not only what we (yes it’s typically Swedes…) do instead of shaking hands.

I got curious about this nearness mania of ours. Of course it’s probably a good thing but can it become too much? Weird? An obsession maybe?

Stalking the behaviour led me to the hormone Oxytocin. It’s released from positive, physical touch and most often discussed when talking about either motherhood or sex. A fun thing is that it can be released when swimming too! Fantastic huh. Another reason to love summer mmm.

The hormone reduces pain, decreases stress and anxiety and even increases the ability to follow social norms. Plus many more things. Sounds like the best medicin for pretty much anything. So, is anyone doing a business out of this?

Of course! There is an entire industry specialized in providing cuddle partners and they use the same arguments for buying the service as the benefits of Oxytocin. One example is the company “The Snuggle Buddies” where the clients sign a contract agreeing to that no sexual activity is permitted during a snuggle session. And thereafter it’s time to cuddle. From ca 80 dollars/hour. Cool.

On another scientific level, there is the psychology professor James Coan who studies what physical connections and relations do to the brain. A revelation last summer was that when we are among others the energy our brain focuses on solving problems decreases dramatically. Being in a group signals that it’s safe and that the brain can chill. Yep, herd animals indeed.

This speaks against earlier studies that say the brain is least active when alone, without stimuli. I like Coan’s one better. Even though I believe it depends on the individual too.

The closer relationship you have to the person, the more effective. But Oxytocin is released regardless. Lucky for me I sometimes get to borrow this guy to cuddle. Works as good as a human. Promise!

Tyson

Fun fact, too much Oxytocin can lead to water poisoning and salt shortage. Beware cuddlers!

xLinn

RECYCLING THERAPY

When meeting your peers sorting glass and plastics at the recycle centre, you feel connected with each other. We all believe in recycling for a better world. Prior the walk to the recycling centre, it feels like a duty. Boring. But afterwards, I fly high on the streets feeling like a superhero! I care about the earth and I’m making it better!

I know for a fact that it isn’t just me who gets these rushes when recycling or doing good. As Joey in Friends puts it “There are no selfless good deeds”. The reason behind the rush of doing good, also called altruism, is explained by our amazing brain. By the way (to be correct) the definition of altruism is actually more about “people caring about other people” but hey, isn’t the planet a kind of friend aka a person? Anyway, there is a phenomenon called “Helpers high” which is the effect produced by our brain when doing good. The brain releases endorphins (feeling of happiness) which explains why I almost flit back from the recycling centre, feeling invincible.

In my opinion, this is a good thing. To be selfish and do stuff only for yourself is natural and human. But knowing that you can get the same rush from recycling your old wardrobe as you get when running a mile is amazing! Doctors are already recommending exercise as a part of recovery for different kinds of health issues, for example depression. And I say – add recycling and good deeds to that recommendation. Call it “Recycle therapy” (patent pending) if you may. There is science that indicates that volunteers live longer than “non-volunteers”, but I think the research in this area is in its embryo so I stop at that note. But that’s just incredible, to live a longer healthier life by helping others (and our beautiful earth) is a real win-win situation.

I have gathered some cool recycling projects to be inspired by for future recycle therapy sessions.

Wow #1 Pistol Lake makes sports wear out of eucalyptus and water bottles. Great way to recycle and it must smell awesome!

Wow #2 Liam – the recycling iPhone robot who dismantles your iPhone into all its different pieces and materials for recycling purposes.

Wow #3 At last, I have to mention H&M world recycle week. You can have a lot of opinions about H&M but creds for making the whole world talk about such an important subject. Looking forward to seeing what the students of Beckmans create for their pop-up store Remake since my awesome creative friend Sara is a part of the project.

xMaja

World-Recylce-Week

Be selfish and save the world!

EMPATHY FTW

Omg all these articles about Millennials?! I appreciate the tone starting to switch from lazy and lost souls to “ah that’s why they work like this!”. People are so fast to judge and I don’t get why “they” don’t use their empathetic skills straight from the beginning instead of becoming upset and even angry because of what they believe to know about Millennialls. We’re just humans and if you try to place yourself in our situation you can reach so much more understanding so much quicker.

Although, I couldn’t put it better myself than these guys commenting on Adweek:

Skärmavbild 2016-04-13 kl. 16.02.10

Because at the same time almost everything, ofc because its data <3, it’s so true! Just like Carlo Lopez says in the picture above. And as humans, we love to diagnose ourselves. Discovering reasons that explain and justify our own behaviour and feelings. Travelling to Asia back and fourth a couple of times simply to “find ourselves”.

With so much trouble understanding this giant part of the population, it’s almost like saying you’ll never be able to understand a minority because of the lack of research and data there often is on a smaller group. It’s wrong. What’s most important is being able to step into someone else’s situation, and trying to fully understand what it’s like to be that person. What causes that constant lump in my stomach? Why am I so happy I can’t stop bouncing? Yes, empathy.

A planning myth is that in the States women are believed to be more suitable as planners because it’s in their nature to be empathetic. Haha! I know guys can be stupid, but I also know that every single one can learn. There is hope!! But then again preconceptions like that have to be crushed.

I’d like to believe that the ability to lack empathy is a step towards evil. Even Socrates wrote about it. In short he proposed that it’s the lack of knowledge, and not the human nature, which is the source to evil. Long story short; the lack of insight. And as the Millennial I naturally am I love to be egocentric and use this as a statement to imply that you can’t be a good planner unless you’re a good person. *self-realisation*

So instead of backstabbing each other, see the positive sides and just try (!!) to understand. The world would be a better place then. And Millennials would probably feel better entering your workplace.

Let’s wrap up all my rambling with a tip! One of my favourite personality tests is 16 personalities (www.16personalities.com). Naturally there’re clusters demographic wise, but the data you get for yourself is interesting deluxe. At least if you’re a nerd like me and most of Millennials. Probably something for an astronomy fan too, or what would you say Maja?

Btw, we’re both ENFP’s.

xLinn

MIRROR MIRROR ON MY FRIENDS

If spent a whole weekend together with my friends I would probably come back to work with some new personality traits when it comes to either my body language, choice of words or talking pace. I have realised that I’m a real parrot when it comes to friends and if I have been with someone for an intense period of time I’m most likely to copy some of my friend’s behaviour and personality traits.

A weekend with Maria makes me walk with my hands intertwined on my back or an intense work week with Linn makes me use hand gestures to a greater extent and perhaps I will skip a little when I walk. Sometimes I feel I don’t have any traits of my own, ergo my parrot-like behaviour. Luckily when I hear my friend Alma copy my Eddie-Murphy laugh I know I got some for others to absorb.

This behaviour is called mirroring and is a non-verbal way to say “I like you, I feel the same”. People who mirror other people may not be as obvious as me but it’s a common behaviour amongst us all and we do it subconsciously. Smile – smile, frown – frown. You get the deal.

Did you know that there is a concept called “Dancing brains”? In my opinion the sincerest form of mirroring. I read about it in the book “Choose right – A guide to great decisions*” by Katarina Gospic and she describes it as when two people are connected and close, their mirror neurones dances with each other. Like a cobra who follow the snake-charmers flute, as she puts it, people can be in crazy harmony flawlessly following each other’s movements with their bodies and minds. It’s kind of a beautiful thought how our brains dance together when we feel connected.

I don’t know about you but I feel like dancing after writing this.

xMaja

* The Swedish title: Välj rätt – En guide till bra beslut, Katarina Gospic. A great read about our amazing brains. She makes brain science sound like child play.

Parrot_02