Yoram Levanon – Creating Influence

Yoram Levanon, Chairman & Founder, Exaudios

“The imagination exercises a powerful influence over every act of sense, thought, reason,–over every idea” (Latin proverb)

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” (Marcel Proust-The famous French novelist)

Influence is the main objective of advertising. However-many act as if exposure is the essence. In my opinion,the new media misses the opportunity to upgrade to a far better influence. I am suggesting here “new eyes” which may change this.

Dictionary.com defines influence as “the action or process of producing effects on the actions, opinions, behavior, etc. of another or others”.

I dare to say that the new media is using information as the main tool of influence. To quote Albert Einstein –”Imagination is more important than knowledge” – means information is not sufficient. You must invoke imagination if you wish to influence. Prof. Daniel Kahneman (Winner of Noble Prize) describes in his brilliant book “Thinking Fast and Slow” (2011) two decision making systems in our brain: the fast – but superficial-one named SYSTEM 1 and the slow—but deep thinking-named SYSTEM 2. Based on many years of research we know that most of our decisions are taken by System 1. Here the intuition seems to rule and our experience are more important than facts. In order to influence others through System 1 – we need:

– Better understanding of the spontaneous personal decision making process. Here we advise using SHG Model which I am one of its creators. SHG are the 3 emotional drives according to this model.

S-stands for survival.
H-Homeostasis. (All closed systems in nature tend to stay in equilibrium).
G-stands for growth drive.(Each of us is more than a closed system. We are open to new experience as members of the human society.)

– Ability of measuring users’ emotional states and identification of their spontaneous decision making parameters. Here I may suggest analysis through intonation (17 years of research by me and my team) or other methods which are measuring physiological emotions’ indicators like GSR, Facial expressions,

– Imaginative creation of smart associations between emotional states and marketing objects – putting them as part of advertisers’ influence language.

Before demonstrating these points I ask you to look in Merriam –Webster Dictionary’s definition of influence. The first definition (which is the original one?) is:”An ethereal fluid thought to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans.” I dare to suggest that “influ” of influence is – in this mythic definition – that fluid which enter our bodies and souls and does the influence work.

Using this interpretation help me to distinguish between the common way of advertising and between my suggested model. We can call the existing common model – “The Solid Model”. We are presenting a well defined (or semi) product, service, brand or idea. We are exposing it(sometimes wrapped). We talk about its utilities. Still-something is missing. This is not a Gordian connection. You will get such a connection by merging between our emotional state, our experience, our dreams and the story or the picture that the advertiser is showing us.

The suggested model tries to melt the solid and deliver it as “influ”-the stars fluid-to influence people. “The Fluid Model” is built on sensations that match real time emotional state ,our emotional experience in past and in present, our fantasies and triggering our imagination to create a new compound-where we and the advertiser are partners. More than that – the fluid is streaming to “holes” (gravitational force) which are the unfulfilled needs/wishes of each person. We achieve by that potential answers for each person, instead of “just a message”. (A different approach to personalization.)

Examples will explain and illustrate these semi-abstract ideas:

1.The code of intonation – There is a strong correlation between “music of talk” and our emotions. Most of us know and use it intuitively. Following years of research we discovered many of these connections and we tested it over 50000 different talks ( achieving more than 75% accuracy in western languages). Sub to US patent #8,078470 we use that in various application . analyzing 10 seconds of a personal speech can tell us the person’s without understanding the content. emotional state. Such state definitions are – for example-“Looking for warm relationships” or “Impulsive drive for adventure”. I assume that there are companies who would like to patronize such emotional situations and send their content accordingly A “content envelope” may include materials like clips ,pictures, stories, songs, etc. which are related to a persons’ mood and to relevant commercial materials.

2.”Riding on cell-phones” – Measuring HR(Heart rate) and GSR(galvanic skin response) and intonation enable the categorization of our mood. Then match content.

3. “Augmented Reality” – Give the user the ability to combine and enrich personal content by friends’ materials (in social networks ) or companies’ content and the user may create from this mixture a new experience (Ideal personal potential influence ).

I am teaching my students that an advertising strategy has to be CREATIVE –which answers 8 demands:
C-Channel. Fitting the right channel to the specific needs, targets, constraints and potential.
R-Relative advantage. Do not forget to emphasize your firms’ relative advantage. If you will not who will?
E-emotional approach. That’s the best way to begin. Rational and facts will come later to empower your influence.
A-Astonishment. A good way to penetrate consumers’ memory and stay there for a long time.
T-Targeted. Match the content to audience.
I-Imagination and (hopefully) inspiration.

George Bernard Shaw said:”Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will”.

Imagination is the spark of any emotional interaction and therefore a wonderful platform to create influence.
V-Value. The reason why.
E-Extendable. Beginning of positive relationship.

I believe that my suggested “Fluid Advertising” is answering well to these 8 demands. The relative advantages are the strong connection to emotions and experience and a powerful way of applying imagination.

This may change significantly the productiveness of the NEW MEDIA channels.