Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Talents of a Middle-Aged Brain

At the end of April I wrote about a book by Barbara Strauch, the health and medical science editor for The New York Times, who had just published The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain.

Amazon, as usual were very reliable and a copy popped through my letterbox with a couple of days. It is excellent. I cannot wait to write an article about the author’s findings and their implications.

This is an interesting blog posting by Anne Mai Bertelsen who also found the book interesting.

These are her take on the implications for Marketers and Advertisers.

"Dumbing down" is not needed: the middle-aged brains' ability to process complex ideas, employ inductive reasoning and problem solving suggests an opportunity to communicate and market complex ideas and products to Boomers. This is particularly relevant for those developing and marketing financial products. Too often, there is a tendency to dumb down this information as if consumers can't grasp the complexities. While this might be true for the younger brain, research suggests otherwise for the middle-aged brain.

Get to the point: While brain processing might start out a little slower, the middle-aged brain's ability to grasp the gist of an argument faster and better suggests long, drawn-out explanations are not needed or helpful.

Tap into empathy to get attention: with more personal experiences to draw upon, middle-aged brains are more empathetic. And, empathy elicits emotions, which research also suggests impact message recall and purchase decisions.

Minimize auditory and visual distractions: Since the middle-aged brain is more apt to be distracted -- or fall into a "default" daydreaming mode, as scientists call it -- minimize the auditory and visual distractions in communications. Those distractions work against a middle-aged brain's ability to focus on a marketing message.

This seems sound advice to me. More about this subject to follow.

Chuck, thanks for Twittering about this blog post. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

Chuck Nyren said...

The distraction issue is nothing new. I've talked about it for years - as have you.

My take on the book from a blog post a month or so ago:

For advertisers, everything she says is important. Ms. Strauch talks about “creating a disorienting dilemma” and “shaking up the cognitive egg” to get our attention – not something usually done when advertising to Baby Boomers. Most ads pander and lull us to sleep.

For another take on the book:
Memo to H.R: Older Brains = Smarter Brains