Douglas Van Praet, drawing on the wise words of Albert Einstein to drive home his point that the unconscious brain—the part that generates emotions—has a stronger influence in marketing than the rational brain. Click here to view all photos from the SIMA Boot Camp P.M. event.

Behavior Change Therapist & Author Douglas Van Praet Speaks On Unconscious Behaviorism & Brand Marketing At SIMA Boot Camp

More than 90 attendees from 45 different surf industry companies converged at Hurley‘s Costa Mesa Headquarters  Tuesday for SIMA’s PM Boot Camp, a marketing-focused event that featured a presentation from Douglas Van Praet, Executive Vice President of  leading ad agency, Deutsch LA, and author of Unconscious Branding.

A full crowd packed into Hurley’s Town Hall meeting room on the brand’s expansive campus, as Praet shared his unique, and somewhat controversial approach to branding that is derived from years of experience in neuromarketing and behavior change therapy to understand the unconscious factors that drive consumer actions.

"Unconscious Behaviorism means we're being conditioned by the environment at all times subconsciously," Van Praet told attendees. "The major premise is this – all learning behavior change is unconscious."

"To be single-minded is wrong-minded because we have a two part mind – the conscious and unconscious,"  Van Praet continued. "To really understand marketing, branding, and consumers you have to focus on the unconscious mind."

SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet
SIMA Boot Camp - Douglas Van Praet

As the founder and author of Unconscious Branding, a brand strategy consultancy whose approach to marketing draws form Unconscious Behaviorism and applies neurobiology, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral economics to most business problems, Van Praet has positioned many of the world's most iconic brands through highly effective and award winning campaigns, such as Volkswagen's widely popular "The Force" campaign.

Van Praet’s studies led him to see patterns in consumer behaviors, allowing him to create ways to break through their everyday habits by completely reversing what is thought as the marketing norm. In his presentation, the behavior change expert outlined seven steps to changing the culture and branding behind companies, providing relevant examples of brands like Nike, Dyson, and Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign that have successfully utilized these strategies.

One of the last key takeaways Van Praet provided was for brands to take action, since action creates memory and anchors that pattern into our sensory systems. “If you can do one thing, create novel, engaging, emotionally charged experiences,” said Van Praet, emphasizing that “behaviors precede attitudes” for consumers who can experience your brand on an emotional level.