Man, you got to be kiddin'!

TRUE LIES

Man, you got to be kiddin'!

GEEKS ALL Technology and tools appeal fundamentally to men’s search for the aesthetic. Give a man a new gadget and he’s a little boy with a toy again, according to recent research.

A recent research has taken a deep dive into the subconscious minds of men and come up with the hidden truth on what they really want. Surprise, surprise! It isn’t what women, or even other men, popularly believe. And yes, it can be published in a decent family newspaper.

 If the surprise findings from Global Neuromarketing Studies, one of the world’s leading neuromarketing firms, are to be believed then men are amongst the most misunderstood creatures in this world, falling second only to Boa Constrictors (that actually eat only when hungry and don’t go swallowing any and everything in their path).

While the research is aimed at helping advertisers focus on the actual emotional needs of male consumers and guiding marketers working in the promotion of food, beverage, finance, health, beauty and other consumer goods, it is an eye opener for the rest of us as well. According to Dr A K Pradeep, Chief Executive Officer of NeuroFocus, “The male brain has strong needs and desires that are different than what is generally assumed.

Marketing that misses the mark in appealing to those deep subconscious drivers is losing significant opportunities to engage the male brain.”

Here are the key findings from the company’s research, which tell us what men really want. To be taken with a pinch of salt, if you are going by this version of it!
 
To be wanted and desired

What men want, says the research, is to be wanted and desired. So they are not really the dry, disinterested, I-don’t-care-what-you-think-about-me, I-care-even-less-if-you-love-me, low on emotional quotient characters they like to project themselves as. When they pretend they don’t care about what they wear, how they look, how they smell, whether or not they need a hair cut or a shave, whether you like them or not, they are lying. It’s not just women. Even men want to be desired and wanted. Yes, even that dark, brooding colleague who wears the same pair of jeans almost every day and has made scowling a style statement, is more bothered about what you think of him than he would ever admit.

According to NeuroFocus (the research guys), males are restrained from expressing this deep seated need due to hundreds of years of social conditioning. But, at the bottom of their hearts, there is a primal drive to be perceived as desirable. Advertising has always looked upon this as a female phenomenon and hence the whole gamut of fairness creams, age-defying magic lotions and weight-loss breakfast cereals is targeted at women. In the process, advertisers are obviously missing out on a potentially very valuable source of motivation to purchase for men. The Axe deodorant guys, who have a man turning irresistibly desirable by using their product, have obviously cracked this one.

To be knights in shining armour

Now this one is not news to us, is it? We have known since time immemorial that men have this inherent desire to protect and preserve. Or, at the very least, be seen as protectors and preservers. That’s obviously a male trait. But NeuroFocus’ research has uncovered a much deeper and stronger drive in this regard than conventional research has portrayed. Father cuddling an infant, father playing cricket with older child, protector of the family, knight in shining armour, defender of the lissome beauty chased by assaulters down a dark alley: these are the images that make most men smile to themselves and say, “Hey, that’s me all right.” Advertising in categories such as financial services is often missing the target by not addressing this subconscious need more strongly. For example, insurance companies that rely on humour or loss-prevention angles as their communications strategy are well advised to change their campaign strategy and aim it at man – the protector. Sell him a cloak he can lay out over a puddle for a fair maiden to walk over. Wave at him a pair of underpants that make him “real man” or “macho” enough to tackle goons getting fresh with a pretty girl. Give him an insurance policy that makes the dreams of his little kid come true and voila, he shall dip into his wallet and making a buying decision.

To be silly and funny

Men don’t take themselves as seriously as they’d like us to believe. The male brain responds immediately and strongly to imagery depicting groups of males, bonhomie, buddy behaviour, silliness etc. So when Aamir Khan takes a snub by his wife good-naturedly in the Tata Sky ads or when Amitabh Bachchan gets berated by Jaya for not getting her a pair of bangles in the Tanishq ad, the messages are carefully cultivated.

Beer companies have also cashed in on this trait, but NeuroFocus’ research showed that it is an underlying dynamic that can be tapped into by many products, especially in the automotive and consumer electronics fields. Emotional engagement and memory retention are two of the key factors driving purchase intent. The addition of a ‘silly’ component to that interaction helps drive emotional engagement. So now it is research saying that men are silly and not just women.

To own the latest gadgets,gizmos, cars etc

His fantasies are made up of iPhone 4, iPad, Aston Martins, Jaguars, besides other  (ahem) stuff that can’t be discussed here. Technology and tools appeal fundamentally to men’s search for the aesthetic. Give a man a new gadget and he’s a little boy with a toy again. At the subconscious level, the deep connection with devices produces powerful emotional resonance. To the degree that if aesthetic can be blended with the functional — as exemplified by Apple’s product marketing — the result can be a very powerful connection with the male subconscious mind. Give him a cell phone service provider offering a new function (video chat) and a pretty girl who is now his at beck and call (if you’ve seen the Dil jo chahe-paas laaye advertisement) and you’ve sold him your product.
 
To be perceived as winners

Men don’t take life at an easy pace. For them everything is about the end result, which — for them — is winning. Much of marketing to men focuses on the end game: the goal of winning above all else. NeuroFocus’ research reveals that while achieving is a powerful motivator and goal, advertisers should not ignore the deep rewards that men derive from the process of winning. So whether it be a car race, a sprint with another parent, an advertising campaign, a Bvlgari watch, a 3G phone with video conferencing, a girl or even a smile from one, let them win something in the story and you have them hooked to watching your advertisement. From there to buying it is but a step away. 

Reports last in now tell us what men don’t really want. The answer to that is women who crib about in-laws, talk negatively and belittle people. But then that’s another article altogether. Some other time, some other writer maybe!

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