Brands activating our left angular gyrus, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex or left orbitofrontal gyrus, ie systems in our brain that are associated with the extraction of meaning, conceptual organization, reward, etc could be common topics in the daily agenda of branding managers of high-value brands in our times.
Neurosciences have entered in a close engagement with marketing in search of the Holly Gray of Branding: finding and controlling our Buy Button in the deep of our vast brain ocean with billions of connections.
But where are the ethical boundaries of such initiatives like Neuromarketing and Brain Branding? Paradoxically, and contrary to what is believed by naïve observers and writers , in the last decades the more the brands were growing and flourishing the less is the level of human happiness and human satisfaction, in steady decline in the western world (see Easterlin Paradox). We are not all aware but we are living in the era of Branded… Unhappiness, as I had analyzed in my book Nice Capitalism. As Tim Kasser’s (The High Price of Materialism) research shows, those who place a higher value on acquiring material goods and brands, aren’t as happy as their less materialistic counterparts. He further provides evidence that such a behavior leads to low satisfaction, personality disorders and even antisocial behavior. And are the brands today that,
through advertising, are imposing our Value System and Lifestyle. But what is even more worrying is that brands , through overstimulation, invasion and manipulative techniques, could lead individuals to the dark sphere of depression. Depression will be the second larger killer after heart disease by 2020 and a contributor to coronary disease. Almost 15% of the population suffers severe depression in the western world (more than 20 million Americans). Further on, it appears now more and more in the youth and not only in those around 40 years old. The mechanism that describes the secret path to depression in our branded world is described in detailed in my book and is graphically presented in the illustration above (click to enlarge). As a scientist with a long experience in marketing, I strongly believe that branding should exist for the mutual good of the individual and the business. And that good, ultimately, is to improve human satisfaction and human happiness and well – being. Those brands that are investing in the exploration of the ocean of our brain connections should return back to their true and legal mission. In the opposite case the society has to re - evaluate their license to operate. What’s your opinion? Do you share the view that branding should have certain moral boundaries? Let’s start the discussion.