For centuries, man has been intrigued by the complexities of the human mind. With the social networking boom and the raging debates on privacy, the one thing that we still have total control on is our minds. Luckily, no one can enter that space. Or so we think!
The case study on the ZMET research process- an attempt to unravel a customer’s hidden thoughts and feelings through metaphors fascinated me. The in-class discussion on whether this process could actually build brand equity immersed me into researching more – Is it possible to reflect externally what goes on inside a person’s mind? Is it possible to transform and channelize this nonverbal communication into a structure of words or images that develop a project or a brand?
My research led me on to some interesting findings
Mind-Mapping – A mind-map is a graphical technique that uses the full range of cortical skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm and spatial awareness – to unlock the brain’s potential. Mind-maps may be used for note taking or even coordinating huge projects. The idea is to focus on a central idea with the use of an image and then branch out to the various second and third level connections with the use of vivid images and single words per branch. The brain works by association and any representation in the form of colors, connections and images will have a lasting impact on it.
Doodling – Made popular by the google-doodles, a doodle is something that all of us unconsciously draw. Little did we know that even our mindless scribbling can be interpreted. The ZMET requires customers to doodle in the form of images. The marketing managers could reverse engineer and use these doodle combinations in advertisements to have the desired impact on the customer. Interestingly doodling also heals people through homeopathy.
Case Study – CapGemini has an Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) where mind-maps and ZMET techniques are extensively used to strategize and develop project implementation plans. Employees and clients are isolated from their work place and made to work in groups in highly energized and mentally stimulating environments. Colors or soft toys among other things are used to invigorate the mind. An exhaustive brainstorming process, leads to extensive mind-map development to identify the problem statement, the challenges, loop holes, responsibilities and the way forward. The final map is circulated to the stakeholders in the project. Instead of reading a mundane 100 page document, employees and clients now work with a mind map. Results are seen in reduced delivery and implementation time.
Science and psychology are indeed progressing to interpret the human mind. Techniques such as the ZMET are powerful tools for marketing managers in understanding customer psyche to build brand equity. While verbal feedback may be manipulated, non verbal feedback in the form of images may be unbiased and more honest – after all communication specialists note that 80% of all human communication is non verbal and much of the remaining verbal communication is also determined by nonverbal cues.