First, I have to show you the Heider-Simmel animation. I’m talking about a minute and a half animated video used in a psychology experiment in 1944. You can find it below. After watching the animation, I have a question for you: “What do you see in it?”
“What do you see in the video?” This question is precisely what the participants in the experiment were asked after watching the animation. So let me first share my answer and then explain what happened in the video:
“The mother and the child are coming home. The father waits nervously and makes it unpleasant when they arrive. First, the father fights with the mother outside. The child is hiding. Then the father comes home looking for the child, and he finds him.”(Don’t worry when you read my story. This test is not from an experiment that reveals childhood traumas)
What kind of story did you write? What happened in your story?
Let’s talk about the answer. In the animation, two triangles and a circle move independently around line segments that appear as a rectangle. What we watched was just that.
The purpose of the study is basically about how we understand “social intention.” Many books interpret this work as a perception of emotion and intention, attributing personality features to objects. We see the animation as meaning, not as the movement of geometric shapes. Even if there is no meaning, we make up one.
Our mind is a unique relationship creation machine. It can connect everything and narrate it. Your customers’ minds constantly generate relationships and stories. What we call a brand consists of this interconnected bundle of relationships. It is more than a logo. It is meaning.
This is exactly the most important thing for marketers to remember:
“We produce meaning as we consume.”