The brand strategy discontinuation between what business does and what science knows [GUEST POST]

May 13, 2020 ~ Written by: Dr. Constantinos Pantidos

Approx. Read Time: 10 Minutes


“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker

Regular readers are aware that the agenda of the Business Brain Model is to play a role in cross fertilizing some of the knowledge originating in the world of neuroscience into the world of business. Within this, we have covered quite a spectrum of topics including several on values in business. What we have yet to do is solicit additional contribution of thought in these areas.

With all of this in mind – I am, particularly, pleased to present the below Constantinos Pantidos authored article. Dr. Pantidos is the Founder of Brand Aviators, a brand strategy agency that helps clients around the world build their brands “neural equity”. Dr. Pantidos is also a post-graduate university lecturer on strategic marketing, consumer behavior, and consumer research.

– W.B. (Bud) Kirchner

The brand strategy discontinuation between what business does and what science knows

* Written by: Dr. Constantinos Pantidos

Wouldn’t it be good for the financial services sector to provide extended contribution to their clients that relay on the neurobiology besides the numerical input?

Nowadays, most companies base their decisions on big data and advanced analytics. The numbers reassure us that we have taken the right decision. So, most businesses use science to support (at least in part) their decisions. However, 95% of what affects any decision is unconscious. This means that the use of big data is only part of the story. First of all, much of what big data is are based on are rationalizations: whatever we see on the internet has been processed by the brain and put into in texts and visuals. Following what clients state as the reasons they buy our products or services lead us to the wrong conclusions. Consumers do not know and cannot articulate what keeps them buying into specific product categories and brands over and over again. Consumers rationalize. Finally, basing our decisions on the numbers reproduces what already exists in the market, it does not add value.

Although we use science in business, there is a disconnection between “scientific” management and advances in many modern sciences such as neuroscience, cognitive studies, linguistics etc. These advances are today again used tactically in business for eye tracking, validating the impact of advertising campaigns rather than to inform strategies and develop communication, creating new products and innovation. Even today no one can deny that important decisions about a brand such as why the brand exists, what the brand stands for, and how it looks like, how it is recognized (choice of colors and other distinctive assets) are still largely being based on experience, gut feeling, personal preferences and trends. The advances in modern sciences have not really been leveraged by business to understand and predict human behavior.

As a consequence, brand purposes look contrived, fake, fabricated, not coming from deep human insight embedded in the brand. As such they remain a statement, not lived and breathed by the employees of the company, let alone by the clients and consumers. Aligning all business and consumer experience around a brand purpose that is just a statement is like building an expensive palace on shifting sand.

But why is this happening? Why do we trust the numbers but not the emotions, rejecting anything that cannot be measured with accuracy as non-existent? Here are some of the reasons:

  1. It is easier to rationalize rather than navigate the chaotic space of emotions that play an important part in any decision. As a result, we might trust the numbers because they are supposed to be always right. We assume 1 plus 1 always equals 2 while in nature there are no two things that are completely the same. On the other hand, we ignore emotions that are real.
  2. While understanding and predicting human behavior needs an alignment of many scientific disciplines, agencies, academic and business research work in silos. While new knowledge nowadays is mainly produced by connecting the sciences, every discipline uses its own jargon and disregards or even fights with the other disciplines.
  3. Our tendency to forget that deep down we are still biological beings, subject to evolutionarily-preserved mechanisms.
  4. A belief that big data will give us all the solutions ignoring the fact that they are also largely rationalized responses and thoughts. Unless the big data is based on or complimented by human insights, they can be misleading.
  5. Up to now, there has not been a simple, effective, integrated model to establish the links between the disciplines required to understand and predict consumer behavior.
wheel of motives
THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™: C. Pantidos, Living Brands: How Biology and Neuroscience Shape Consumer Behavior and Brand Desirability, Lid Publishing, London, 2018, page 391

Such a model connecting the puzzle of human behavior now exists. It helps us dive below the surface of things to unlock the motives behind the motives. Helping us to understand why people act emotionally in the way they do it helps us predict the potential of new products in the marketplace, evaluate the potential of brands. THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™ establishes, for the first time, the links between many scientific disciplines to help scientifically root brands in the biological roots of human behavior.

THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™ helps managers to:

  1. Understand the real motivations that drive product and service categories. Only by understanding the “why” behind our behavior can we trigger it, hopefully, for the common good.
  2. Discover white space opportunities (undervalued and unrecognized motives) for innovation and positioning brands. At this time of cut throat competition in all industries, THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™ helps reconnect with customers at a deeper human level.
  3. Put companies back on track. Fixing brand strategy is one of the fundamental points for putting a company back on track. Many major aspects of company excellence such as efficient management, communication and motivated employees are based on brand clarity and relevance.
  4. Identify brands with intrinsic value to invest in.
  5. Get the most out of the brands. Brands are the most valuable assets of any company that normally we underestimate. Managing brands as assets brings a much higher value than fixing the more tangible assets and strategies of a company.
  6. Establish the strategy of a brand and answer its fundamental questions: Who am I? What do I do? What am I here for? What do I look like? How am I recognized?
  7. Align the whole company around the brand, boosting its business model, opening the avenues of innovation, employee motivation and coherence in the experience provided to the clients.
  8. Predict the success of a new product or service in the marketplace.

THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™ is the result of 11 years of research in 200 universal categories of goods. It has been leveraged by such companies as Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Nestlé. J&J, and Unilever around the world. For more information contact

* Dr. Constantinos Pantidos leads BRAND AVIATORS ™ the brand strategy consultancy that helps get the most out of a brand. It specializes in the evaluation of brands as assets, the discovery of white space opportunities for positioning brands, and the increase in value of brands, helping them reconnect with customer at a deeper human level. He led the team that developed THE WHEEL OF MOTIVES™ the first tool integrating neuroscience into understanding categories and positioning brands. A post-graduate university lecturer, Constantinos teaches subjects on strategic marketing and brand management, brand identity design, brand leverage and rejuvenation, consumer behavior and consumer insights. Constantinos is the author of the groundbreaking book Living Brands, How Biology and Neuroscience Shape Consumer Behavior and Brand Desirability.