The most precious resource any of us has is time. Take Back Your Brain! wants to help you spend more of it doing things that are important to you by exploring a potentially radical idea: What if, rather than simply consuming advertising, you use the industry’s own tactics to seize back a piece of the saturated media space around you for yourself?
Every waking moment someone else is working very hard to convince us that we should spend our time and money pursuing things like luxury automobiles, body spray, diamonds, athletic shoes, liquor, breakfast cereal, prescription drugs, cosmetics, and telecommunications services. We receive persuasive messages embedded in news, entertainment, politics and even our clothing. It often seems like our identities and even our values are defined for us in terms of how we can serve someone else’s agenda: we’re consumers and voters instead of citizens, neighbors and parents.
According to the industry’s own estimates each of us receives several thousand advertising messages every day. They may be as flashy as a Super Bowl ad or as subtle and unconscious as the logo you see when you glance at your watch. What these messages all have in common is that they are hijacking space in our brains for someone else’s agenda.
In spite of all that, I’m not opposed to advertising per se. I believe it is neither good nor bad. My gripe is with how much mind space it all consumes, and how distracting that is from other, quieter, deeply important agendas we may have for our own lives. TBYB! is interested in taking back some of that bandwidth for ourselves; in reclaiming our attention from the seductions of those mental predators so that we may use it to achieve our own goals, including the good that each of us wants to do in the world.
How to Take Back Your Brain
1. Learn the techniques professionals use to persuade us and borrow any that seem useful.
Advertisers have spent billions of dollars developing and testing ways to influence us. There’s no need to repeat that research since much of it is published and free for the taking. There are clues in many other human hacking systems as well – psychology, religion, propaganda, politics, social engineering and sales, to name a few.
While we bravely use techniques like good intentions and willpower, they are deploying powerful time-tested strategies that are almost guaranteed to influence the human mind. Why shouldn’t we use those strategies for ourselves? For example:
- Create a brand for your goal: Decide how to position your change
- Take back the Marketing Mix: The Four P’s
- Target market research: Put your customer first
- The psychology of persuasion series
View all posts in the Marketing strategies category »
2. Use our personal technology tools to make effective ads aimed at influencing ourselves.
Our brains respond powerfully to pictures because our relationship to visual imagery is much more ancient even than language. Advertisers know this, and make sure your environment is saturated with images that remind you to use their products. How well do you think a hand-written item scrawled on a to-do list is able to compete with an emotion-driven focus-group-tested visual extravaganza like a Super Bowl ad?
We can use digital tools to level the playing field a bit by using the Internet to find images for our ads, and using cameras, scanners and image editing software to create them.
View all posts in the How to make ads category »
3. Use personal technology again to automate delivery of those messages.
Look around you. Unless you’re in a wilderness area you probably see dozens of advertising messages right now on a variety of surfaces. But unless you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, none of them are for goals you have chosen for yourself.
TBYB! wants us to get our own messages into the game. I show you how to use a wide range of media to deliver advertising messages to yourself, from sticky notes and 3×5 cards to your computer and cell phone. The goal is to get messages that advocate for our own goals into the media stream that surrounds us.
You can use personal technology to set up systems that automatically deliver messages to your computer or cell phone without any further intervention on your part. Low-tech methods can be very effective too, like wearing a t-shirt or putting a picture on your bathroom mirror. Either way, you are frequently prompted to return your attention to a goal you have chosen for yourself.
View all posts in the Deliver your message category »
Personal marketing can change your life
We can’t stop the torrent of advertising streaming toward us every day. What we can do is make sure at least some of it is advocating for objectives we have chosen for ourselves. My experiments have demonstrated to me that creating ads by and for myself is incredibly powerful. It seems to influence the choices I make in a way that tips the balance from merely thinking about the life I want to getting up and doing the things necessary to achieve it.
I invite you to explore the many articles I’ve written about this topic and encourage you to experiment with these and other advertising techniques to help focus your attention on the outcomes you want to create in your life.