Rebranding to Brain & Behaviour
Entrepreneurship is a psychological game. You go from idea to concept to plan to product to brand — and you go fast. You start with a thousand assumptions and slowly replace them with facts and better assumptions as you turn feedback into insights. At times, this can be radical. We're going through a radical rebranding right now from neuromarketing to brain & behaviour.
Therefore, I'd like to share the story of Neurofied's evolution with you. In sharing my thought process, you will see why we're so excited about this challenging move. And it might even help you make a similar decision one day.
At the start of 2018, we founded Neurofied because we love applied psychology and saw unfulfilled potential. Books like Pre-suasion, Hooked, and Thinking, Fast and Slow clearly showed the impact applied psychology can have in domains ranging from technology to health. We also noticed that most people had very limited knowledge of what makes us and others tick. So we decided to build a company that bridges this gap between business and science.
The question then became: what companies & departments would hire a bunch of psychologists to teach and help them in applying psychology for better results? At the same time, neuromarketing was resurfacing as a trending topic. We decided to ride the wave and build our initial business on the idea of applying psychology to align marketing communication with customer needs. To change the long-term future, you often have to adapt in the short-term.
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"Does this describe what we do?"
The plan was all along to focus 80% of our time on how our thoughts, decisions and behaviour come about. The other 20% would be to translate the insights into practical tactics in a specific domain, such as marketing. We wanted to make sure we would not become neuromarketers but applied psychology experts. Taking a 'principle' approach made it harder for us in the short-term but allowed us to rebrand eventually while still riding the initial wave.
And off we went. But as we helped more and bigger clients, and as our team grew, we encountered two key problems. First off, most corporates are reluctant to work publicly with neuromarketing due to reputation risk. Understandably so. Add to this that no one in our team is passionate about 'making people buy more'. We, as every single psychologist, love 'studying the human algorithm'. And although we were extremely ethical, we all felt that we would be more proud of Neurofied if we moved away from neuromarketing.
To change or not to change
So here is a question for you. How would you replace the core concept everybody associates with your business? We thought about simply replacing marketing with conversion – which nearly all our projects focused on since the beginning – but it felt like too small a change. We discussed serving only impact-driven clients but were not sure whether we would survive that radical a move this early on. We even considered building a new brand, but that didn't seem like wisdom either. And then we realised we already had the answer.
The answer is in the 80% we devote to understanding the underlying principles of our thinking, decisions and behaviour. That is why we started to work on a new methodology for understanding human behaviour in general. In this methodology we've included multiple perspectives ranging from psychology and neuroscience to evolutionary biology and systems thinking. We changed our focus. This time, it was not about the application; it was about creating a flexible framework that can be applied to any people-related domain. We named the new methodology Brain & Behaviour. If you use it to marketing, it's called – you guessed it – neuromarketing. But that's not our focus anymore, therefore the rebranding.
Communicating Brain & Behaviour after the rebranding
Internally nothing much changed. We're still analysing how people think, decide and behave. We are still distilling key insights from scientific articles and business cases. We're still simplifying complex theories and are turning them into practical models & frameworks. We still educate professionals and organisations on how to better understand and motivate people with cognitive biases, mental models and systems thinking. We still focus on CRO.
What did change was our external communication. We rebranded slide decks and documents. Our web copy now tells a different story. We have new models to explain what Brain & Behaviour is. And of course, our company pitch changed. After all this effort, there was one question in every team member's mind: will the rebranding be worth the investment?
The right path (for now)
Psychologists tend to answer in shades of grey as they are highly aware that nearly everything is a spectrum. But this time we all agreed with a full-blown "YES!". It turns out that the team feels that the new methodology finally fully covers what we're working on (less cognitive dissonance). That's why everybody is bursting with motivation and performance. Also, clients who previously disliked 'neuromarketing' now love the new 'Brain & Behaviour Academy'. They feel like it reflects our work more accurately.
Now, you've heard the story behind our rebranding, and you can see the results. I hope you too will trust your intuition when it comes to such a complex decision. It can be scary, and you will not always be right but often a 'bad gut feeling' is a good reason to rethink a decision. And remember, nearly any decision is reversible.