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Be social, go tribal.
Maybe we're all just high-tech cave dwellers.
The internet lets us connect to virtual tribes around the world, way beyond our ancient hunter-gatherer origins. But that hasn't replaced our deep seated need for belonging, status or recognition. 
If anything, social media has fueled our tribal needs, while at the same time making us more averse to face to face interactions with actual human beings.

Through the eons, we haven't changed much.
Despite our changing social networks and forms of interaction, it's interesting how little our tribal behavior has changed since the days we were cowering in caves.

For example, eBay is one of the first and most enduring online businesses. Why? Because it taps an ancient, ingrained behavior - our need to share and exchange resources. Look at eBay and what you see is a complex "web of indebtedness", a self-monitored community that enables humans to share through three neuro-scientifically observed patterns of socially acceptable
tribal behavior:    
1."Social Proof"- If I'm not sure what to do, I look to see what others in my sphere are doing, and follow. 
2."Reciprocal Altruism"- You gave or did something for me, so I will repay you in kind. 
3."Collective Decision Making"- I trust the combined wisdom of my tribe, so I will confer with them before making a final decision.

These genetically guided behaviors keep our online businesses running smoothly and provide swift and  
often brutal retribution from tribal members when those behaviors are betrayed. In the past, cave folk were shunned for life. Today, we "unfriend", "flame", post negative reviews and otherwise express our disapproval with a few words and a mouse click. 
Cyber nomads. 
Now with mobile apps for Facebook and Twitter,
we have become virtually nomadic. Even when we're walking (or heaven forbid, driving), these apps and many others tweak our need to constantly be in touch. Doing so also feeds our desire to position ourselves in the pecking order of the tribal hierarchies we belong to.

Oh, and if you haven't checked in with your peeps in a while, you'll be sure to hear about it, which is just another form of social/tribal chastisement.
And let's not forget Foursquare and its clones when it comes to our need to show off. These location-based social networking sites prove we were actually at the hot new happening by letting us check in from concerts, parties and sports events, providing cyber strokes for our experiential achievement.  

So, how does this impact our products, services and brands? In a myriad of ways that neuroscientists are just beginning to get their arms around. Next month we'll look at how we can begin to tailor our messages to appeal to the inner cave man and woman in all of us.


Mental Notes is Evolving
In the coming months, dear reader, you and I will
explore the psychology and neuroscience of branding and marketing.

Mental Notes
will continue to evolve to complement my roles as a national speaker, trainer and brand consultant. I welcome your comments and questions along the way. Cheers!