The Complete “What is an A6 or A11 or V6 or V21, etc. decision style?” Arc (Originally “Do McCain, Biden, Palin and Obama Think the Way We Do? (Part…)”

Note: this content was originally a four part arc.

Do McCain, Biden, Palin and Obama Think the Way We Do? (Part 1)

I suspect this post is going to cover a lot of ground.

It’s going to start with a response to reader Dwight Homer’s question “What is an A6 or A11 or V6 or V21, etc. decision style?” in his Did Americans Always Think This Way? (Responding to WindKiller’s comment on “What McCain said about Obama and Palin to Hillary and Biden”) comment [[(Alas, the post remains but the comment is gone)]]. From there we’re going to analyze some interviews and the debates to get an idea of how the candidates think. This is a follow up to something Tex and WindKiller have been asking about and hinting at in their comments on “Hillary is piloting the space shuttle and Sarah Palin is riding a bicycle” and Designing a Political Language Engine (WindKiller’s PWB comment) and What’s Happening Up North? respectively [[(As before, the posts remain and the comments are no more. From this we learn that nothing lasts forever, what could be found one day is lost on another, and what is remembered depends on what bills are paid…)]].

First, Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting.

Second, and starting with Mr. Homer’s question…

A6, A11 and so on are classifications NextStage uses to designate decision, learning, cognition, etc., styles. They are shorthand notation for some very long and very detailed explanations of what triggers different reactions and responses in different individuals and groups of individuals and why these individuals and groups act and will act. Very briefly, these classifications are shorthand notations for

  • how people think,
  • how they behave,
  • how they demonstrate that behavior and
  • what motivates their behavior.

For example, the A6 definition includes:

  1. are more emotive than most

  2. become emotional during conversations
  3. are more apt to make decisions when there’s some emotional values involved
  4. are more apt to learn something when the lesson appeals to the emotions
  5. tend to focus on what’s in front of them work-wise
  6. tend to live “in the day”
  7. base decisions on positive influences
  8. are good listeners
  9. don’t rely on future rewards much if at all
  10. tend to ignore past successes and failures
  11. make a final decision based on whether or not they can see an immediate advantage to the decision
  12. are swayed when allowed to take part in activities
  13. tend to have a positive outlook on life

An A11 definition includes:

  1. base their decisions on whether or not their recent past contained any negative aspects

  2. learn most readily when the lesson references a recent past, negative event
  3. often experience negative memories which are triggered by some sound (a voice, a word or phrase, music, etc)

  4. often experience visual memories which bring up painful past experiences
  5. tend to be loners or dissociative with others
  6. willingly avoid social situations
  7. base decisions on avoiding pain or discomfort

  8. learn most rapidly when the lesson has a threat (real or imagined) of pain or discomfort
  9. are strongly influenced by references to past failures and associated uncomfortable memories
  10. rarely make references to past, present or future successes

  11. are not influenced by references to past, present or future successes
  12. ignore making decisions or engaging in activities which are guided towards present and future pleasures/successes

  13. ignore advice and/or counsel which directs their attention to present or future pleasure/successes

These notation bear their legacy as most of them are named after different brain regions.

Before the break I mentioned that these classifications are shorthand notations for

  • how people think (Cognitive),
  • how they behave (Behavioral),
  • how they demonstrate that behavior (/effective)and
  • what motivates their behavior (Motivational).

A further shorthand notation for these is {C,B/e,M} matrix or {Cognitive, Behavioral/effective, Motivational} matrix (there are some links to richer explanations at the end of this post).

Sometimes similar themes appear in different notations. Let me offer that it’s not that they show up, it’s where they show up. The order in which a item appears is an indication of how great a role that item plays in that individual or group’s learning, decision making, memorization, etc., style.

What goes into a NextStage {C,B/e,M} matrix is both a summation and synthesis of information that’s been in the literature (linguistic, psychology, sociology, anthropology, neuroscience, and lots of subdisciplines) for the past 20-150 years. I believe the term “{C,B/e,M} matrix” originated with NextStage although the much of the science behind it didn’t.

Adjusting the sieve

How many different ways do people think? That depends greatly on how fine a sieve you want in place when you answer (much of this is detailed in Reading Virtual Minds). You can correctly state that most native English speaking countries (with the exception of Australia) promote three different ways of thinking. Do you want to involve southern Europe excluding the eastern Mediterranean? Then you have four. Include northern Europe and you have between five and seven. Go to eastern Asia and you still have five to seven but they’re a completely different five to seven than in Europe as a whole.

What makes this a powerful (to us) concept is that we’ve learned certain types of individuals fit into certain groups extremely well. For example, what makes an individual a good researcher (ahem)? What makes someone an excellent business leader (say C level of a large business)? Are different qualities necessary to be an excellent business leader of a small business? Is one an A32 and another a B17?

Marketing and “Knowing How They Think”

Clients use our designations to better understand how to market to different individuals and groups. For example, people doing extreme sports tend to think in certain ways. These ways of thinking permeate everything in their life, not just extreme sports. Our experience is that most marketers don’t have the tools or background to make use of distinct {C,B/e,M} matrices in their creative, nor do most businesses know how to adjust their marketing material to more precisely target (ie, get a larger portion of a target) audience. To that end, standard lifts using our methodology are documented in our case studies.

You’re Marketing. It’s in Your Blood and Wired into Your Brain

[[(sorry, we didn’t keep an image)]]

I don’t know if anybody’s told you, but marketing appeared long before humans were humans. Ever seen a peacock’s beautiful plumage? That’s marketing. Ever heard a lion roar? That’s marketing. The great ape beating its chest is marketing and we’ve learned from our evolutionary ancestors well. Ever wonder why you’re attracted to some people and not others?

bmw car ad.jpg

Sometimes the marketing is obvious. The woman wearing a revealing clothing (whatever that means. It’s different in every culture) is marketing, the man with the sports car (this is becoming prevalent as western cultural values become more and more ubiquitous) is marketing.

Marketing and advertising is so a part of our neural makeup that we do it without thinking and — more to the point of this discussion — use it without thinking. I could offer that we’re now about to get into something akin to horoscopes (“You get along well with Libras and Virgos”. In truth, some companies use our technology on what I call “matchmaker” sites) except that it’s much more like mRNA and DNA signalling (because that’s what we based this part of Evolution TechnologyTM (ET) on). We demonstrated and published ET’s abiliity to find job candidates that would immediately fit in and perform well in an existing group via these principles at a Boston KM Forum meeting in Aug 06.

What I mean by the above is that someone who’s (for example) an O12 will get along incredibly well with some other Os, some Vs and a few As. Have you ever had the experience of just meeting someone and feeling like you’ve known them all your life? Or maybe you’ve heard someone talking or lecturing and what they said, the things they shared and the pictures they showed gave you the impression they were speaking directly to you at this moment in your life?

Congratulations, your {C,B/e,M} matrix was vibrating at just the right frequency to be in harmony with that other person’s or that speaker’s (and yes, the math behind some of this is based on …oh, let’s face it, I’ve probably already gone too deep for most folks reading this).

So Politicians Can Win Elections by…

The logical outcome of this is that anybody who vibrates at the right frequency or has the {C,B/e,M} mRNA that binds to the largest population will be most trusted, most favored, so on and so forth.

Recent politicians who did this best included Presidents Clinton and Reagan.

My next blog post will investigate the personal communication styles of the 2008 Presidential candidates based on their recent interviews and debates.

Do McCain, Biden, Palin and Obama Think the Way We Do? (Part 2)

I suggested previously that politicians win elections by “vibrating at the right frequency”, ie, having a {C,B/e,M} that is most easily accepted and identified with by the largest percentage of the voting population. The colloquial concept of “vibrating at the right frequency” is well known in marketing and advertising; the use of people in ads and creative that your target audience can identify with. IE, you probably won’t see too many spindly academic types in driving pick-ups in truck commercials. Much more simply; count the number of people wearing eyeglasses driving pick-ups in truck commercials versus the number of people wearing eyeglasses in commercials for upscale cars. Why the difference? Eyeglasses indicate intellectual, managerial and executive capabilities. That’s not the traditional pick-up truck market. Want to hear marketing types going nuts? Listen in on conversations about whether or not actors in SUV commercials should be wearing glasses (see What do kids think about kids in eyeglasses? for more on this).

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What this dips into and one of the ways NextStage makes use of these {C,B/e,M} matrices is in our Rich PersonaeTM. Rich PersonaeTM take the personae most clients come up with and imbue them with very real, very “mindful” reasons and motivations for their thoughts and deeds. You can find some links to information on NextStage’s Rich PersonaeTM at the end of this post. The most germane for this post might be Romney, Mitt Romney, Governor Romney, Social, Social Networks, Social Media, Video, Multimedia, TV, Advertising.

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Websites, etc., work very hard at vibrating at the desired audience’s frequency. The reason for this is that it creates a trust relationship very rapidly. Politicians want you to trust them, hence analyzing how a political website vibrates is a good indication of who they think their audience is.

Maybe.

Because if you’ve been following along with this series of posts, they websites aren’t doing a very good job of vibrating at the frequency of the largest audience. A strong case could be make that they’re not vibrating at the right frequency of some kind of glommed audience (see What McCain said about Obama and Palin to Hillary and Biden).

So I analyzed the debates

Thinking that the candidates would communicate differently in the debates, we analyzed the videos of the debates. What did we find?

Well, strangely enough (at least to me). Biden, McCain, Obama nor Palin were vibrating to the tune of the largest audience or even the largest audience glom.

In fact, I was shocked to learn that Biden, McCain, Obama, Palin, Lehrer and Ifill were all communicating with an A13 style. They were having a heck of a time being understood and understanding each other but what about the rest of us? I mean, during the exact time periods that the debates were going on, were the majority of people thinking and making decisions in an A13 style? At one point in time 14% of the BizMediaScience audience was A13 (see Do You Know How to Persuade, Influence and Convince Your Visitors? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog) Again).

Right now (as I write this) the A13 personality comprises only 5.21% of BizMediaScience audience. I am reaching a more varied audience though. I was only reaching 12 personality types when I wrote Do You Know How to Persuade, Influence and Convince Your Visitors? (NextStage Evolution’s Evolution Technology, Web Analytics, Behavioral Analytics and Marketing Analytics Reports for the BizMediaScience Blog) Again, now I’m reaching 34!

So what is an A13 Personality?

  1. These people strongly prefer to be taught via negative reinforcement
  2. They make final decisions based on the immediate outcomes, they aren’t persuaded by appeals to long range goals
  3. They look to those emotionally close to them for guidance and leadership
  4. They base their decisions on the negative aspect of arguments

Well, wow. I especially like #2. To heck with long term and down-the-road consequences of our decisions, legislation, et cetera.

How much of the viewing public was vibrating at this frequency during the debates?

You’ll be shocked (at least I was mildly amused) to learn that the personality types prevalent during the first McCain-Obama debate on 25 Sept 08 were the same as in the graph above. However, things changed during the Biden-Palin debate on 2 Oct 08 as shown in the chart below.

What caused this shift in popular thought processes from 25 Sept to 2 Oct 08? This is more than a shift of a few points in the existing personality styles. Old styles are gone, new styles are taking their place, there were 7 and now there are 6. Hmm. The ranks are tightening, me thinks.

McCain-Obama, Biden-Palin US Decision Pattern Differences 080925-1002

The linking element of the decision/personality styles extant on 2 Oct 08 is simple; things are looking bad. Anyone want to take a guess why the nation as a whole would be thinking things aren’t looking too good at this point in time?

Do McCain, Biden, Palin and Obama Think the Way We Do? (Part 3)

Some quick notes before I get into the meat of this post:

This post will be covering

Here we go…

The Palin-Gibson Interviews

Charles Gibson was using an A13 communication style during the 11 Sept 08 interview. You may remember from the above that Biden, McCain, Obama, Palin, Lehrer and Ifill all used A13 methodologies during the debates so perhaps Charles Gibson’s use of A13 had more to do with experience and training than anything else (could it be that A13 is the best communication methodology for people reaching out to a television audience? Food for thought and research, that).

Governor Palin, about a month before the VP debates, was using a K13 communication style. This style’s key elements are:

  • These people prefer to experience things first-hand
  • They base decisions on immediate experience and tend to be negative in nature
  • They tend to ignore positive-based information as either unreal or unsubstantiated
  • They are attracted to and will focus on demonstrations of problems or difficulties

During the 12 Sept 08 interview Charles Gibson switched to an A9 style and Governor Palin went to an A5. The A9 style can be likened to a more conversational, more intimate form of the A13 style. A5 has

  • These people are strongly emotive and can become emotional during conversations
  • They are more apt to make decisions when they’re based on absolutes (right/wrong, good/bad)
  • They tend to have a negative outlook on life and dwell on past failures
  • They are very hands on

Thus in both interviews Governor Palin prefers to do things herself (the “first hand” and “hands on” aspects) although she didn’t demonstrate as strong a in the second interview as she did in the first, and she prefers to see the negatives rather than the positives (again with a slight shift in the second interview).

The “…make decisions when they’re based on absolutes (right/wrong, good/bad)” element is often found in individuals with definite religious beliefs.

The Palin-Couric Interviews

As goes Gibson so goes the Couric. Katy Couric’s communication style on 24 Sept 08 was A13. Unlike Charles Gibson, Ms. Couric stayed with an A13 style for the 25 Sept 08 interview.

Governor Palin’s communication styles for these two interviews was A13 followed by A5, thus Governor Palin once again in the second interview demonstrated a tendency towards absolutist views.

Gender Communications

One thing we learned in our studies of the 2004 election cycle (see NSE Case Study – Using NextStage’s TargetTrack in Political Campaigns, Predicting Election Outcomes Via NextStage’s TargetTrack and Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History Chapter 4 “Anecdotes of Learning: Politics Aren’t HorseRaces Any More”. We also offer our complete 2004, 2008 and 2012 Campaign Analyses for $25kUS each. Contact NextStage if you’re interested) was that communication styles — especially when they’re not capturing a large audience — are sometimes not as important as understandability, gender communications, education level and other demographic factors.

That recognized, Charles Gibson was reaching pretty much an even mix of males and females in the two interviews; 51/49 M/F on 11 Sept 08 and 53/47 M/F on 12 Sept 08. Likewise, Katy Couric reached 52/48 M/F on 24 Sept 08 and 48/52 M/F on 25 Sept 08. I would credit this to their training and experience as reporters and being on the anchor desk.

Governor Palin’s performances were 39/61, 42/58, 49/51 then back to 39/61 on the four days in question. Whatever was going on or being discussed on 11 and 25 Sept 08, Governor Palin intentionally or otherwise wanted to be sure women would take or be on her side.

Me, Politics, Adam Zand’s Really Big Shoe, How Obama’s and McCain’s sites have changed when we weren’t looking

Note: This section had a great deal of front matter dealing with Adam Zand interviewing J for a podcast on politics. We’re cutting that and going straight for the post’s jugular…

And now, How Obama’s and McCain’s sites have changes when we weren’t looking.

The sites, they are a’changin’

The last time I commented on the actual campaign websites was in Designing a Political Language Engine (WindKiller’s PWB comment) and What’s Happening Up North?. What’s happened since then?

Oh…just a little.

Here’s how Senators McCain’s and Obama’s website has changed their communication styles over time:

Date McCain Obama
(splash, main) where appropriate
10 Feb 07 V16 V15
6 Mar 07 K9 V15
22 Mar 07 V16 V15
24 Jun 07 V15 V12, K15
13 Aug 08 V16 K8, K1
25 Aug 08 V15 K8, K1
27 Aug 08 V16 V11, A8
29 Aug 08 (pre Palin announcement) V15 A7, V8
29 Aug 08 (post Palin announcement) V15 A7, V8
2 Sep 08 V15 V16, V8
3 Sep 08 V15 V16, A8
4 Sep 08 K16 K11, A16
10 Sep 08 K16 K11, K8
18 Sep 08 V16 K11, V8
23 Sep 08 V15 K15, K8
28 Oct 08 K15 V15, A8
30 Oct 08 V9 V15, A8

Forget what the Vs and As and Ks mean, just notice how often they’re changing. My guess is they’ll continue to change daily as the election gets closer. Senator McCain’s website’s relative communicative stability over the time period detailed is (I believe) a kind of equation that looks like

Candidate + Audience + Message = 1

What I mean by this is that for the longest time Candidate McCain pretty much gave one message to his audience. There were minor shifts and alterations, and pretty much it was one message. Now things are tighter and Candidate McCain is changing his message and his messaging as the days grow shorter and his campaign works to find the magic bullet that will stop the Obama machine.

Senator Obama’s website comes in two parts, splash and main with splash being variations of the join/learn page shown here [[(sorry, we don’t have a copy of that image)]]. The variations here show something that (I’ve heard) the Obama campaign does very well; respond rapidly to changes in its audience base.

Some readers might take that as “Obama changes his story as it suits him” and that’s not what I’m suggesting. How the message is delivered (the images, words, …) changes as their audience shifts. What the message is stays (I’m guessing) the same.

I will offer that if the site is an echo of the man, then Senator Obama has the ability to rapidly and easily change his approach to problem solving.

Again, I’m neither implying nor stating that Senator Obama changes his opinions on things (he may, I don’t know). I’m suggesting that if (IF!) his site is a product of his beliefs and methods then he has the ability to change how he solves problems when he recognizes that a present strategy isn’t working. The problem doesn’t change nor does the desire to solve it, only the methodology changes. This is what all that {C, B/e, M} stuff was about above and et al.

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The NextStageologists at the Edwards Rally

Yesterday Senator Edwards was going through New Hampshire and attending several rallies. I got an invite to one and went for much the same reasons I went to the Clinton Rally I documented in The NextStageologists at the Political Rally. NextStage makes a study of how politicians use the ‘net (and all that implies) to influence people. More specifically, NextStage analyzes how politicians want you to think, and we’ve posted some of our research and findings in this blog under Politics

This wasn’t the first time we’d seen Senator Edwards speak and one of the things we were most interested in was verifying something we’d started to notice. We weren’t sure if it was simply campaign fatigue or a genuine shift in Senator Edwards feelings about the campaign.

NextStage did go on record in How Politicians Want You to Think – Who’s Saying It Best, Finale that Senator Edwards’ campaign was doing a good job of communicating their message in a way that the populace would respond to favorably, what NextStage recognizes as the K12 Rich Personae. At that time his campaign’s strongest message was “You can see that I count” (perhaps a statement that his staff realized his campaign was not doing well in the polls) and its first message (meaning the message that people would non-consciously receive first) was either “I have a Plan” or “You can see that I have a Plan”.

Please note NextStage isn’t endorsing any candidate or political party. This material is based on our research and studies.

Observations and conjectures based on the observations:

  • The people at the rally demonstrated much more zealotry than we’ve seen elsewhere. It seems to be a matter of belief and conviction rather than political strategy or campaign
  • Senator Edwards’ communication style indicated he was not looking for your vote so much as he was looking for your belief he can change things
  • The people at the rally were mostly middle-aged. There were few young people in attendance who weren’t part of the campaign staff
  • There were no alpha individuals either in the crowd or in the campaign staff
  • Senator Edwards made eye contact and acknowledged people with a smile or nod whenever possible (excellent strategy)
  • Senator Edwards clearly demonstrated an “us/them” divisiveness” in his speech
  • A telling phrase was “…movement to change the country”
  • A telling phrase was “…when you se two presidential candidates fighting with each other…”
  • Based on the two above we concluded that Senator Edwards does not see himself as the same as the other candidates. We conjectured that he no longer sees himself as a “candidate” per se.
  • We all recognized that he willingly and openly admitted when a questioner was not going to like his response.

There were several other conclusions and conjectures. Also, we’ve begun to formulate a rally methodology that will be a strong influencer, definitely at Democratic rallies, perhaps at Republican rallies.

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