“We each have three brains: [There’s] the one inside your head, but you also have two other brains that are up to 1 million times faster,” explained neuroscientist Robert Cooper, who kicked off the event, in Silicon Harbor (a.k.a. Charleston, S.C.). “Neurocardiology studies published in the American Journal of Cardiology have proved that the heart outdelivers your head brain. And your gut has been proven in studies by gastroenterologists at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to be your second brain.”
Cooper, CEO of Cooper Strategic, also spoke about how to unlock one’s own hidden capacity and of those you lead. “When we start to work with someone, we ask three questions,” he said. “First, if you had to become the business that puts you out of business in the least amount of time, what would be different and better? Second, if you had to become the leader or professional who most quickly and effectively puts the current you out of a job, what would be different and better? Third, if you had to hit goals twice as high while spending less time and resources than you now spend, how would you do it?”
Next on stage was Bonobos CMO Micky Onvural, who has a mix of experience working on Fortune 1,000 legacy and digital native brands. Her talk focused on why brands matter.
“Brands deliver financial value, consumer value, growth potential, and internal and external community cultural value,” she said. “There are multiple ways to get to a place where your brand delivers these types of value. You can firstly be naïve to the competition landscape intentionally by ignoring common category convention and reinvent the category rules and the end-to-end consumer experience. A second way is to find your brand truth. A third way is to do deep consumer understanding of the brand’s meaning and behaviors to reinvent the core brand and products.”
From there, it’s time to engage your customers. For that, establishing trust is paramount. “Brand is what signals trust. It’s how you can trust something that you click on,” said Vox Media CEO and chairman Jim Bankoff. “Brands that don’t provide that trust will be weeded out by the platforms and consumer base. So we have to take control.”
One way is via relevant, top-notch content. “You need quality content if you want to be sustainable over the long haul,” Bankoff told attendees. “In our case, that’s going deeper than a lot of what’s on Facebook, where there’s a lot of superficial content. There’s a blowback on fake news. People are concerned more about the world.”
To his point, many of the ways stories are developed, produced, and distributed need to be completely rethought. That includes experimenting with emerging tools, including virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, according to a panel of speakers from the rapidly growing Atlanta film industry: TRICK 3D’s Jessica Hockin, Variable Labs’ Zach Pousman, and You Are Here’s John Buzzell and Adam Sharpe.
New virtual experiences create stronger and new types of emotional engagement for users, they said. These experiences can even enhance empathy or augment adventure. In fact, the panel pointed out, Stanford studies have shown that when someone has a VR, AR, or MR experience, the brain catalogs it as a real experience.
The takeaway for digital leaders: These technologies can help marketers create better, more memorable and personalized customer experiences, the panel agreed.
Finally, RICG CMO Gregory Yates addressed how artificial intelligence and biometric technology can be used to improve business decisions, particularly as personalized experience businesses are built.
“We know how important it is to connect emotionally with consumers,” he said. “Did you know that ads with the best emotional response generated a 23% lift in sales volume compared to peer brands? In another study [for which] 110 TV ads were tested using facial response and eye-tracking biometric technology, the biometrics predicted real sales results 78% of the time, compared to 58% for survey based testing.”
Yates also shared early evidence that using AI creates value. “Companies who are early AI adopters expect to grow revenue 39% by 2020,” he said. “Eighty percent of them also expect to retain and retrain employees as AI replaces traditional roles.”