7 thoughts for new media communications regarding rumors, neuromarketing, bad publicity and notoriety

I had three interesting conversations with three friends and I’ve decided to write in this post some conclusions based on research, books, experience and so on. Of course, this might explain my daily behavior and why I always have a big smile on my face and I’m never nervous no matter what people are saying  🙂

1. Nucleus accumbens – the craving spot is in our brains

In April I was blogging about Buyology, the latest book signed by Martin Lindstrom. I finally managed to buy it and the book is filled with useful learnings. One interesting chapter covers the study conducted among smokers – the result showed that cigarette warning labels not only fail to reduce smoking but they activate the nucleus accumbens (craving spot) in their brains and encourage smokers to light one 🙂

-“Instead of save lives, become a killer marketing tool for tabacco industry” says Lindstrom in his book.

Don’t smoke! Can cause cancer 🙂

2. Never Badmouth a Competitor

I saw once a presentation delivered by Tom Peters – he says that great salespeople …

  • – Know the product;
  • – Know the company & Know the customer/win with better relationships;
  • – Religiously respect competitors. (No badmouthing, no matter how provoked.)

-“Build up your competitors!  Build up your entire industry!” wrote Tom Peters on his old blog in 2006.

Another friend, a very good profiler and psychologist told me there is an explanation. When we speak, we don’t really say the “absolute truth”, we just say what is in our head (we might think is the truth or we don’t know but we say it). Basically when you badmouth a competitor you express yourself and subconscious, you show a weakness.

Another friend, managing director in banking & finance says that badmouthing competitor points out two issues:

  • a) the person badmouthing is emotional and not rational therefore cannot be a reliably business partner;
  • b) the person badmouthing is affecting his own industry, profession, colleagues.

3. There’s No Such Thing As Bad Publicity

I remember a very funny article “signed” by Kevin Sullivan (White House Communications Director) published in  2007 in “The Onion”:
-“The name George W. Bush is on everybody’s lips. Not even Angelina Jolie is in his league, and she’s almost twice as hot! Yes sir, he’s the guy you love to hate, but can’t stop talking about!” 🙂

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
— Oscar Wilde
As the saying goes, there’s “no such thing as bad publicity”. The reasoning is that even if people are trying to raise a big stink about how some work is immoral, incorrect, offensive, or corrupting the youth of the world, they’re still giving it attention and increasing how well-known it is.
-“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” — Oscar Wilde

As the saying goes, there’s “no such thing as bad publicity“. The reasoning is that even if people are trying to badmouth, discredit, claim that somethings is incorrect, offensive, immoral, or corrupting (see the cigarette advertisements above), they’re still giving it attention – this means increasing notoriety and how well-known that product/person is.

4. The Law of the Mind is always working

-“The Law of the Mind says it is better to be first in the mind than first in the marketplace.”

You probably know aboutThe 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” – the concept of “mindshare” is very important – Al Ries and Jack Trout make the point very clearly. Of course, one of the problems underlined by Oscar Wilde in the quote above is that the biggest risk in the world is “not being talked about” meaning not to gain mindshare. This is bad 🙂

5. Spiral of Silence Irrational thinking leads to use of manipulation
-“If you do not keep others hooked on being involved with you, you will end up being ignored, unaccepted or unwanted.”

The explanation of the Spiral of Silence was first explained by Elisabeth Noelle-Neuman in the ’70s. People have a fear of isolation and their behavior is “censored” because they fear being socially isolated.
Basically, a normal person would not comment when an idiot will say something really stupid/undocumented/etc if the idiot will say it in public. Funny, right? 🙂
6. Cognitive miser common people don’t bother to think, explore, research, investigate
I don’t know why but the cognitive shortcuts define the way of thinking of the new digital world. This is somehow bad because people are now used to “google” for the truth and stick only with the first result (conclusion based also on research) 🙂
A Cognitive Miser as explained by Rasyid Bo Sanitioso/Mark Brown refers to how people cannot possibly assimilate all the information they are bombarded with by the world (there are billions of web pages online). This is why we ignore the information and sometimes the truth and like to shortcut our minds in order to get to a rational conclusion.
For example a normal person can judge a politician or a person based only on rumors. It doesn’t matter if the facts say otherwise. This is also why it’s easy to form associations in people’s mind (eg. George Bush = stupid, Ferrari = red, milk = white, etc). Of course, this is a world where the rules of mass perception and manipulation apply. Stereotypes are also an example of cognitive miserliness (eg: blonde=stupid, arab=terrorist, etc).
This rule also explain why people believe the filtered news they see on tv or read in newspapers. The journalist is doing all the work/research and all the thinking. The audience ingests the results of the judgement.
7. A rational person will always respect a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
Trust is very important when doing business. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement or secrecy agreement funds every healthy relationship. Sometimes is written, sometimes is not but even when provoked, a rational professional will always keep the sensitive information to himself/herself.
Also, a must, when approaching a scandal is never to get involved, never comment and never disclose.
This is why there is always a big difference between opinions and facts/rumors and facts and this is why the truth is available for very few people. Others have an opinion (formed by media, friends, religious leaders, etc) but an opinion carries the emotional baggage that makes the truth/facts very blurry 🙂
So, next time when you see a filtered news on tv or read it in the newspaper, hear a rumor you should be aware that someone is building something in your brain. This is why is very important to read blogs (when they present facts and ideas) but also to read books. The ability of critical and independent thinking is priceless.
After all, we all fight for the mindshare!