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The first law of Thermodynamics in the market

Economists look carefully and with technical apparatus to the dynamic of the territory in which they are proficient: the great angular lens of the market, its movement, the flow of finances. Obviously, they are not always capable of anticipating with precision what awaits us in the near future. In face, this is something that not even oracles can manage, only the poets and artists that are capable of this.

When looking at the movements of the economy, the plots and mental battles in the minds of consumers escape. Even knowing this, like we already know, it is in this specific field of battle that are planted the roots of what answers for more than 60% of our country’s GDP: the consumerism of people and their families.

A pair of great thinkers of the marketing environment, in the 1970s, Al Ries and Jack Trout, wrote the iconic book Positioning, whose subtitle is The battle for your mind. They said to us that it was mental operations that happen in a small and humid space of one cubic centimeter.

For many decades, me and the professionals in my area have lived with this battlefield. Like if we were correspondents in a war, with a photographic machine, observation and recording equipment in tow and one indefectible Moleskine in our hands. Correspondents of war don’t fight but they have the supreme mission of understanding and registering human movements. And for us, like a correspondent of war in these mental battles, what we see is an environment much smaller and almost microscopic compared to the great angular of the economists. Our operations are not focused on Faria Lima and Paulista (SP) and its screens. But in transversal horizons where the many degrees of our social pyramid lives. Here’s our vocation as Branding and consumer behavior professionals. A sub-microscopic reading of what goes on in that tiny mental space.

Consumers say what they think, but do what they feel. It is from this comprehension that we are in search of if we want to understand what’s in store for the next steps that the consumer will take.

Very well, it is exactly there that we distinguish ourselves from the economists, not for our opposition to them, but for the natural complementarity of our lenses.

What separates us is that the economists have a perspective on consummated facts on the result of the movements of the market. A technically privileged look that the spreadsheets that illustrate these movements crudely show us.

We, in the Branding and consumer behavior operations, identify what hasn’t yet consumed as a definite fact or as a concrete result. Like a kaleidoscope what still hasn’t turned once more, but, with the same little internal pieces, will constellate a new figure.

We are intention hunters!

In these moments that we are living, in which there is a lot of apprehension in relation to the near future, the consumer is a caged beast. A natural evocation as Henry James wrote (A beast in the jungle)

Inside of him, a lot of energy is going to accumulate that isn’t going to be translated into immediate consumer behavior. He will not be living great passions for his idealized brands and his buying projects, that are not going to materialize integrally, from night to day.

What will the caged beast do with his next actions. We ardently seek to understand how the energy contained in the consumers, in their hidden desires (more than revealed) could flow out in a path so that it is transformed into a source of pleasure, happiness and well being. And so that it doesn’t dissipate, doesn’t degrade, and doesn't stay repressed and stored. It is the useful conversion of this energy that feeds 60% of the GDP.

My 5 year engineering colleagues in FEI that forgive me if I am making a sacrilege. But I can’t dissociate this rationale of what I think I learned from the lessons in Thermodynamics.

The first law of thermodynamics is the one that is applied to the principle of energy conservation. “The transfer of energy into and out of a system is by transferring heat and work.”

I believe that the parallel is not taken for granted. The movements of growth in the economy depend on how much this conversion of energy, of desires, necessities and dreams can be concretely fulfilled in the market. After all, we as consumers are the ones that dictate the market’s destiny. Not the capital, not the industries, not the financial world. The invisible hand of the market has arms, a head and a body. It likes to eat well, loves to be vaccinated, to work, has fun, votes, cheers for the national team. The rest you can complete.

We have much to learn with financial engineering and the macroeconomic line of thinking. They started centuries ago. We are still sorcerers' apprentices, in our careful “alchemy” as Branding and consumer behavior professionals. But we have unique and complementary abilities.

We see through cracks that reveal dreams and desires filled with energy.

We are intention hunters!


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