211. Critical Thinking: Brainwashing’s Implication in Education, Advertising, Religion & Government

Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Reform by Kathleen TaylorPublished in 2004, Kathleen Taylor‘s book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control looks at the history of brainwashing as we know it through the lens of neuroscience and psychology, defines the spectum of ‘brainwashing’ from persuasion to aggressive thought reform, and shows how strategies of brainwashing can be observed in religion, advertising, education and government.

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74. Generation Like: How your quest for identity & connection is subtly manipulated

24 important takeaways from this documentary:

00:10:01 “The icons of this generation are the ‘Like’ button, the ‘Tweet’ button, the ‘Rebog’ button. This is the biggest transformation that we’ve had in terms of communicating with consumers in our lifetime, and to not learn how to participate in those channels is outrageous; to stand on the sidelines is not an option.” – Bonin Bough, VP of Global Media, Mondelêz Int’l

00:12:48 “All those selfies you take and post on Instagram helped that company to sell for over a billion dollars. Send a tweet, and you help raise the value of Twitter to around $30 billion. Facebook is valued at around $140 billion. Those numbers aren’t based on profits, those prices are based on the number of likes they can generate; and likes don’t generate themselves.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:13:10 “Likes don’t generate themselves. Thats why companies need kids to stay online clicking, and liking, and tweeting. They do that by giving kids the chance to be a part of the game: fame by association. Reach out to anybody, and there’s an implied promise that they might reach back.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:15:50 “Social media is all about sharing; and that includes sharing the wealth. When kids with large audiences work together, everyone benefits." – Douglas Rushkoff

00:16:15 "There’s no point in not wanting all of us to help each other be successful and rise together.” – Tyler Oakley

00:17:57 “It used to be that if a kid didn’t have any connections, hardwork and talent were the only path to fame; and even that was no guarantee. But today you can build and leverage a social network.” – Douglas Rushkoff

00:18:45 “(You might) have genuine talent, but that’s beside the point. To get ahead you need to attach yourself to others who have mastered the game of ‘likes.’ It’s basically just merging all the fan bases together. – Douglas Rushkoff & Liam Horne

00:20:50 "You need to stop worrying about your followers and start worrying about the money.” – Steven Fernandez

00:23:04 Lots of people can do what you do. What you need is a way to cut through the clutter. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:25:50 If you don’t have a zillion hits, then you generally won’t get noticed by a sponsor.

00:30:18 If you’re connected to a person and that person likes a brand, and then you like the person and then as a result you like the same product, then now you’ve got a double-endorsement to your friends. – Oliver Luckett, CEO of the Audience

00:30:58 Get social media, then use social media to promote your career, brand, product, etc so that you get to the point where you have a social media network that you can sell. That is every SMART person’s goal with social media. You are your own media company. – Douglas Rushkoff and Oliver Luckett, CEO of the Audience

00:31:47 Start with the research and strategy phase where you really dig into who your audience is, and then figure out how your audience uses social media to communicate… The challenges would be using that audience in the way that you want to use them in order to see the results you’re looking for. Instead of selling the product to the audience, get the audience to sell your product for you.  – Kendra Campbell-Milburn, Sr. Director for TGVLA & Douglas Rushkoff

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on how brands collect and sort through your data, check out my interview with Data Consultants Samantha Bilodeau and Thomas Palugan]

00:34:04 What’s designed to look like a grass roots wave of excitement is actually a meticulously planned marketing strategy. It may be catching fire, but it was doused with gasoline beforehand. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:34:16 Day-by-day, hour-by-hour; absolutely nothing is left to chance. Your goal is to create a controlled brush-fire online to the point where the fans are convincing each other. All the little tid-bits you give them serves as fuel for the fire you’re trying to create… That is how brands both keep interest up and prep for the next one. 

From the beginning to the end, every bit of the marketing strategy is being manipulated; a year out. – Brooks Barnes of The New York Times

00:34:45 Consumers aren’t just being marketed to, they’re actually part of the marketing campaign itself. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:37:02 Your consumer is your marketer. That is a real shift because it used to  be a one way conversation of the marketer to the consumer, and now your consumer is doing as much as the marketer is and getting the message across; consumers are wanting to be as much a part of the process as the company will let them be. -Jane Buckingham, President of Trendera

00:41:10 Surprisingly, consumers can always tell when you’re ‘pushing’ something. So try to keep it transparent and honest because consumers know it’s your job and they know that you have to pay bills. – Tyler Oakley

00:41:55 ‘Selling out’ is not selling it anymore; it’s sort of getting the brass ring. If you get a brand to send you stuff, that brand realizes that you’re important enough that you’re an importance audience to reach. –Jason Calacanis, Founder of Insider.com

00:42:17 ‘Selling out’ doesn’t even exist as a term anymore. You don’t hear young people talking about selling out; I’m not even sure that they know what it means. – Alissa Quart, Author of Republic of Outsiders

00:43:17 Can you really win when you don’t make the rules? Maybe that’s why some of them are opting to become the game makers themselves. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:45:07 A seamless blend of marketing, media and everyday life; every moment of your consumer’s life can be turned into a branding opportunity. There are nuances in how you present things that create different psychological responses. Don’t even call yourself an ‘ad’ to consumers: call yourself ‘rewards’ and ‘moments.’ As consumers go out and experience the world, the things that make the most impact are the things that seemingly come up serendipitiously. Serendipity by design. -Brian Wong of Kiip and Douglas Rushkoff

00:49:50 Kids take the very marketing techniques that have been used on them, and use them on one another; all in pursuit of the same prize. – Douglas Rushkoff

00:50:30 Getting likes feels good; at least in the moment.  – Douglas Rushkoff

71. Roberto Cruz Niemiec on How Architecture Affects Branding, Collaboration & Blog Etiquette 101

Roberto Cruz Niemiec CannonDesign ArchAtlasVice President at Cannon Design and curator of ArchAtlas, Roberto Cruz Niemiec has +20 years experience manifesting his client’s brand image and philosophy through architecture & design.

How does architecture & design fit into the branding process? Architecture and design are integral to the branding process. Architecture works on two levels. Your office sends an architecture design company such as Cannon Design an image of how your organization works, your brand vision as a team, how you treat your employees and your expectations. At another level, your building can serve as an image of your organization, an icon. Design affects how your company is perceived on all levels: from your logo and forms to products and advertising.

What is Cannon Design’s unique selling point? Cannon Design is a global design services firm focused on creating design solutions to the greatest challenges facing our clients and society. We focus mostly on healthcare and education projects in North America. CannonDesign has a couple of characteristics that differentiate it from other firms. We work as one office, not separate profit centers; so regardless of where the project is located we will make sure the best expertise available firm-wide is assigned to your project. Also, we are not a firm that is created to promote one designer or one style of architecture, we recognize each project is unique, and as such the design is unique to that project.

What are a few projects CannonDesign has worked on?

I want to hire an architect. How can I tell the good from the bad? Choosing an architect comes down to chemistry and sharing a common goal. Choose an architect who you feel you can work with but that will challenge you and expand on your ideas. After you have narrowed your search you can visit his office, visit previous projects and check references. Do not ignore this step, it will provide you with a better understanding of how well the architect collaborates and how successful his/her projects are.

Did you launch Archatlas as a side hobby, a career positioning move, or both? ArchAtlas was started purely as a hobby, a way for me to save all the incredible things I find on the web everyday. It took me a while to understand all the different aspects of tumblr and what I could strive for. To this day most people where I work – my peers and colleagues – are oblivious to the fact that I run a somewhat successful blog.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Nearly all of the creatives I interview stress the importance of keeping and organizing your ideas and inspirations because you never know when something you saw will become the foundation for a future project.]

In less than 2 years later you grew your follower-base to +100,000 followers. What milestones helped ArchAtlas reach this level of success? I don’t have an answer to that question so I took that opportunity to organize a tumblr etiquette 101.

However, the first year ArchAtlas was very lucky to be featured on tumblr’s radar a number of times and the blog has always had the support of the tag editors. I’ve never used paid advertising, and to be honest I am still learning how to establish a social network. I guess I have just been very lucky to meet other bloggers that have showed me how tumblr could be a very powerful platform for sharing ideas. 

As for milestones, I can recall things I did that defined my style as a blogger and made me more aware of the kind of power a blog can have:

  • When I started ArchAtlas (back when tumblr was smaller and more personal), I contacted the top design and architecture editors and collaborators and said hi. I got very lucky that those bloggers I contacted were such great people that to this day I count them as friends.
  • Chaz McIntyre of Really-Shit invited me to be a collaborator on a group blog called UnknownEditors (now called Cross Connect) where I got to meet a number of great bloggers.
  • The Khooll invited me to post on his blog. I learned so much from him on how to create content because we worked together on most of the posts.
  • Being the top collaborator on the design and architecture tag and being featured on tumblr’s radar at different moments has really contributed to people finding my blog; there is no denying that.
  • When art/design/architecture sites outside tumblr, like This Is Colossal or My Modern Met, picked up content from my blog the very first time was a very surprising and invigorating development.
  • When I found out an artist from Venezuela was offered a chance for an exhibition in the US (his first internationally) because of me posting his work also gave me a sense of satisfaction.

How often I publish on ArchAtlas varies, however lately it’s closer to 6 times a day without counting reblogs and responses to questions. I’ve found that consistency and quality of content are critical for a blog to maintain followers and grow. As soon as you stop blogging for a couple of days followers start leaving; that it’s how it works.

Lately it seems that word has spread that I have been in the industry for a long time and that I will answer questions related to architecture school and such. It has been interesting (and time consuming) to be able to offer responses to younger followers interested in the profession; something I never planned to do with ArchAtlas. If you’re interested you can follow my ongoing Architecture Q&A here.

How do you feel tumblr has changed since Yahoo! took over? As tumblr moves away from being a community of misfits towards a sponsored content cornucopia, blogs like ArchAtlas (a one person labor of love on their time off) will probably have to adapt or be pushed out.

Yes, tumblr has and will change more. Blogs like ArchAtlas cannot compete for content with blogs that have a magazine, a newspaper or a tv network behind them. That is undeniable. Most blogs that are just another outlet for a media company seldom try to foster the sense of community that a one person blog does. (Don’t get me wrong, some do, very effectively)

In the tumblr community in which ArchAtlas evolved there are a group of bloggers who know each other by name; almost as if tumblr were a global magazine and each of us are responsible for curating our own section of it. For new bloggers trying to make their mark it’s tough because they don’t have that network and as tumblr grows it becomes increasingly more difficult to make those kinds of connections. Tumblr is different because of those bloggers, not for the media outlets that have now saturated the site.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I also asked this question during my interviews with tumblrs Sophie Andreson of Neuromaencer and Freelance Product Designer Timoni West.]

ArchAtlas is advertising free. Do you plan on monetizing it? It sounds like a great idea but I have not researched what it would take to effectively turn ArchAtlas into a money maker. I have been approached by others to do so but until now no definite strategy has been developed. For now it will remain a hobby.