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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Global Warming: Clotaire Rapaille on Why the Deniers are Winning the Argument

Dr. Clotaire Rapaille
Can marketers get beyond your conscious mind to your primal core, and there persuade you to buy their products? And if they can, can those who deny that global warming is a serious problem (Deniers) use the same techniques to persuade you to agree with them?

Of Cloraire, cultures & Codes

Meet the man who says that this can happen – Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, the French-born author of The Culture Code:
Can marketers really get inside a consumer's head to influence the choice they will make? For market researcher Clotaire Rapaille, the answer is yes. He believes all purchasing decisions really lie beyond conscious thinking and emotion and reside at a primal core in human beings. As chairman of Archetype Discoveries Worldwide, he helps Fortune 500 companies discover the unconscious associations for their products -- the simple "code" -- that will help them sell to consumers ...
Rapaille has advised politicians and advertisers on how to influence people's unconscious decision  making, and has worked for 50 of the largest Fortune companies.

How can this help in the fight against global warming?

Our Three Brains

First, Rapaille wants us to understand that we have three types of brain: the reptilian brain we are born with (it's part of our survival – breathing, eating); then there is the limbic brain, which handles our emotions (and emotions vary from culture to culture); and finally as a child we develop our third brain, the cortex – our intelligent brain. We are aware of our cortex but not of our reptilian or limbic brain reactions.
Our Three Brains - per Dr. Clotaire Rapaille

The American Brain

And cultures differ (hence marketing approaches must differ):
These levels are very different from one culture to another. Some cultures are very reptilian, which means very basic instinct. American culture is a very basic instinct: I want to be
reached now; let's do it. [There's a] bias for action. Just now, [America is] very adolescent when other cultures are more cortex, very control, control, control. The German, the French are very controlled. They want the government to control everything, the state, the bureaucracy, the administration. The ideal life for a German person is when they just have to obey; the administration is in charge of everything and controls everything, and you don't have to worry about anything. We don't like that. We Americans, we like to have choices: My own life, I want to become whatever I am; whatever it is doesn't matter, but I want to become myself -- not something else, not what people tell me. So I'm not telling you one culture is good or bad, but just different.
What does that mean for our poor earth, with the rising temperature due to our pumping out carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, and enveloping the earth in a heat-trapping blanket?
It means the message about the danger of global warming will not succeed in one of the biggest culprit nations – the USA – unless it is framed in such a way as to appeal to the reptilian brain of Americans.
How do we do that?

Independence and adolescents

Rapaille's does not directly indicate what the code of Americans is for global warming, but he does give some advice as to how to reach Americans:
The trick, he believes, is to let Americans believe they can have it all but also to appeal to their rugged sense of independence. "This is a very adolescent culture," he said. "You can't tell your adolescent, say no to sex. Of course they're going to do it. You can't tell them don't speed, because they're going to speed. We're not going to stop Americans in their desire for speed and power. But at the same time they don't want to be dependent on a bunch of crazy people around the world for their energy, because that would be worse than anything."
His proposed answer entails aggressive investment in alternative fuel sources, starting with hydrogen, and aggressive new standards for energy efficiency. Car companies should not be producing kinder, gentler gas-guzzlers, but rather a whole new generation of super fuel-efficient vehicles ranging from Hummer-style behemoths down to the smallest feel-good tiddler. Houses should be built to more exacting standards. Inefficient household appliances should be outlawed. And on and on down the line - the idea being to leave America's consumer culture intact while radically changing the terms for supplying it.
In summary, his advice is to appeal to the reptilian brain of American culture by targeting the "rugged sense of independence" – using the American culture code for Americans (Rapaille says this code is Dream) change the energy type and source so as to avoid dependence on foreigners, and do this by investment in alternative fuel sources and higher standards for fuel efficiency.
President Obama, are you listening? Perhaps you should give Dr. Rapaille a call ...

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