Monday, January 10, 2011

A culture eager to learn - to avoid everything bad

Online DNA testing is a growing industry. Some sites and companies offering people a DNA checkup to identify potential risks are: 23andme, Lumigenix, Navigenics, deCODEme and Pathway Genomics.

We live in a culture where people are obsessed by knowing details, finding out information and getting a sense of being in complete control. Brands and companies therefore need to be transparent and open with what´s in their products, how they are made and so on. If you look as if you are hiding something, you are in trouble. The Twitter police or word-of-mouth mumble will find you.

Or is this true?

This trend towards detail fixation is a reality at the same time as own brands sales are growing - selling lots and lots of anonymous copies, and even if we say that everything goes on Twitter, how many people are actually seeing the tweets that are critical towards brands? In theory everything is visable, but in reality it´s not.

People are caring about details, but not really in a focused manner. I think there is a huge need of all the new curators out there, distilling the tons of data we theoretically have access to, but neither can understand nor find.

When it comes to our body... The DNA testings are for sure opening a possibility to get a richer, healthier life. A study from Genetic and Public Policy Centre in Washington found 34% became more careful about their diet, 14% exercised more, 15% changed their medication or dietary supplements. But in reality, how many will change their lifestyle for long term...? Will the tests not just create fear?

Our mind is our most efficient doctor. Whatever we believe or expect have a magical tendency to come true, and for years psychological research has proven that what we think is what we become. When you get a prediction that you are genetically prone to get a certain type of cancer, your mind will start to give this fact attention - raising the risk! Not all that is hidden it our genes will come true - it will only wake up when triggered, and awareness and fear is a trigger. 

I think the DNA tests can have a point, but people who take them must be made aware of the power they have to remain healthy just by thinking themself well.

For brands... just be aware of how people crave the opportunity to have knowledge and fear the unknown. Don´t overload us with info, but have it handy. And sell dreams, rather than facts. We still want it all, and the "eager to learn" culture is eager out of fear, not curiosity, and your brand does not want to be associated with people when they have their swords ready to fight the enemy.

Yes, we are scared: Preventative care coverage a priority for 86% of Americans. Only 15% of Brits say they live for today and don‘t worry about the future when it comes to their health. (Health Insurance – US – April 2009/Preventing Illness and Through Healthy Living – UK – January 2010 presented by Mintel)

Example of how brands are visible: The Augmented Living Goods (AUG) app scans the barcodes of supermarket food and provides data on the origin of produce, meat and dairy.

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