From Chimp to Champ: a neuroscientist’s advice to marketers

Professor Steve Peters, the ‘mind mechanic’ behind the Chimp Mind Management Model, tells marketers to “shake up” outcome objectives and speak to consumers in a language they understand in order to best reach and understand their target audience.

Peters, who is best known for his motivational work with England footballers and Olympians, believes if brands adapt the winning mentality and leadership of a sportsperson they can achieve results.

In an interview with The Drum, Peters revealed how he works with clients to help them realise their full potential, starting with how a person’s behaviour, thinking and emotions are critical to the work they are doing.

For starters, the human mind reacts either emotionally, rationally or irrationally to things, says Peters, and a marketer has to decide which part of the brain it is aiming a campaign at.

To achieve this, Peters poses the following pertinent questions to marketers: Who is your target audience? What are their minds likely to do in the way you present a campaign to them?

One of the first steps in creating a campaign is to clearly define outcome objectives and a target audience. Peters said when you look at these outcome objectives the first thing to do is “give them a bit of a shake” and ask: 'are they realistic and achievable or are they aspirational?'"

It is important to consider how people will relate to the campaign, continued Peters, by making sure it is sending a message they want to hear: “If you think about you are really saying sit down and explore it with me”.

How can that way of thinking improve marketers understanding of customers and better connect with audiences?

“Take it at a simple level. Let's say you wanted to put a message across to somebody else and you spoke in a language that they didn’t understand. They haven’t received the message because it is not within their grasp - they are struggling to follow what you are saying," said Peters.

“That is the same with when you are reaching out to someone whatever you are doing, marketing included, you must think the person’s language. You must get the message to them so that they can understand what it is you are saying in terms that relate to them.”

“Fundamentally, a good marketing campaign will make sense to the person it is aimed at,” he concluded.

Steve Peters will be taking part in ESPN’s Ad Week Europe seminar, A Winning Mind-Set: in Sport and Business, alongside newly crowned IBF Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua, and moderator ESPN FC’s Alison Bender on The Guardian Stage, 11.30am on Wednesday.

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