Marketing Lessons From My Favorite Neurobiology Professor

As Associate Dean of Neurobiology at University of California, Irvine, my good friend Dr. Michael Leon knows a great deal about how the brain works. What’s more, he is as fascinated with marketing’s impact on human behavior as I am.

After a long, fun conversation the other day about taking smart marketing risks, he sent me an email that I think you will find both interesting and useful.

“I don’t know why, but I love this kind of thing. You may also be able to get some mileage out of the story about how Orange County, California, got its name. When it split from LA county, there were many suggestions about what to name to the new county, including Hog County, because there were many grown here. Finally, to evoke the idea that it had a Mediterranean climate, someone suggested that it be called Orange County.

Oranges at that time were a rare commodity that were often given as Christmas presents. The problem was, no orange had ever been grown in the area.

AFTER they named it Orange County, they imported some orange trees from Florida but they all died (the juice oranges needed the plentiful rain that comes down in Florida).

Finally, they tried navel orange trees and the county was soon covered with them. Perhaps the moral is that sometimes you have to have enough confidence in doing something like marketing, even if you’re not sure of the outcome. The ones with the confidence eventually figure it out.”

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