If you see what everyone else sees, how will your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace? If we focus on consensus, how are you supposed to challenge the status quo? What if you harnessed the power of neurodiversity (literally and figuratively) to change the world, or at least your brand?
We call it Conscious Seeing. And brands can greatly benefit from using its principles.
Let us explain. The neurotypical brain is designed to simplify the information it sees. The more you see and do the same thing, the less your brain will need to engage with it each subsequent interaction. It allows us to group concepts into shorthand schemas (e.g., dogs vs. cats). Among other evolutionary advantages, it keeps us from information overload. It allows us to focus on social and physical survival.
There are a lot of schemas we like to use in marketing: working mothers, LGBTQ+, Black people, 20-something cis white males. When we segment consumers into groups (e.g., Black mothers) we instinctively default to treating that group like a monolith. Even though real life tells us not all have the same experiences or world views.
Conversely, people with neurodiverse brains such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD may struggle to simplify, generalize, use, and adopt schema learning. They are hyperspecific; they see and fixate on differences and variations. Those details can create a new-to-the-world perspective that could offer a groundbreaking solution to a branding challenge.
Likewise, designers are trained to see things differently, because they break down design to component elements as part of the creation process. And when it comes to brand innovation, the magic is found in rebuilding those elements into new-to-the-world concepts.
The color grid below is a conceptual illustration of conscious seeing. The neurotypical brain will hear the word “brown” and be satisfied with one generalized scheme of brown and move on. Much like neurodiverse brains, well-trained designers will parse the word “brown” into all its possibilities and iterations. This can become a struggle because if you ask them to grab the brown stick, chances are they can get stuck overthinking “which brown one?”
Traditionally, we’re taught that this is bad, that the neurodiverse brain is focusing on the “wrong” details. We strenuously disagree and, in fact, see it not as “wrong” but a strategic opportunity.
Try walking in someone else’s shoes, talk to someone who has a different lifestyle, diverse experiences, and divergent perspectives. If we always look things the same way, we will always see just brown. Looking at it from a different perspective allows you to see exponential ways to grow potential opportunities and ways forward for your brand.
Isn’t it amazing to think that by changing perspective, potential outcomes could grow from one solution (simply “brown”) to 45 different variations of that one solution; making your brand that much more compelling and able to stand out amongst a sea of brown.