Dr. Bob Deutsch

Bob Deutsch, Founder & CEO, Brain Sells“Evolution tends to favor action over thinking. That hasn’t changed. Emotion controls the mind as it did when humans first came on the scene. People react much more emotionally than companies dare to think. Purchasing decisions are never driven by logic alone. Emotion and narrative are key, they are the very structure of mind and of human nature. All successful marketing campaigns – whether using primeval or post-digital technologies — have responded to this phenomenon.”

–Dr. Bob Deutsch, cognitive anthropologist & CEO of Brain Sells


Dr. Bob Deutsch founded Brain Sells after years of studying how people in many different cultures and countries create beliefs and attachments — how leading ideas take hold.

Brain Sells works with companies to reinvent how they conceive of, and assess, the mind and mood of their relevant publics, in order to maximize the company’s return on investment. We create the kind of ideas for strategic communications that assure engagement and loyalty to a brand.

Dr. Bob is a specialist in communication and culture who has worked on Pennsylvania Avenue, Madison Avenue and in the primeval forest. The Ad Club of New York has referred to him as “a truly revolutionary thinker.” And Adam Morgan, in his book, Eating the Big Fish, has called Bob a profound analyst of human nature and American culture.

Dr. Deutsch has written and spoken widely on what one sees when casting a “primal eye” on modernity, including its rituals and mythologies. He has contributed articles on human nature, the cultural moment and marketing to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe and National Geographic Magazine. His commentaries have appeared on ABC’s Nightline, Good Morning America, and on the PBS series, Rights & Wrongs. He also lectures and is on the roster of Leading Thoughts as a keynote speech maker.

Dr. Deutsch’s academic training and experience has been interdisciplinary in scope, combining anthropology, cognitive science and media studies. Dr. Deutsch received a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine where he was a staff member of the “Project on Human Communication” that pioneered methodologies for the ethological analysis of performed and spontaneous behavior. During his graduate education, he also taught cultural anthropology and evolution at the City University of New York.

Upon receiving his doctoral degree, Dr. Deutsch was awarded a Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Institute of Mental Health Post-Doctoral fellowship to study selected confined populations (e.g. brain damaged, juvenile delinquents, and schizophrenics) in order to describe the “primary core” of their communication practices. Concurrently, Rockefeller University supported his field research with chimpanzees, aimed at determining the existence of nonlinguistic forms of ritual and ritualized behavior. He has applied this research to analyzing audience reaction to cinema and TV.

Dr. Deutsch then took a position at the Department of Psychiatry, Rutgers University Medical School, where he co-directed a joint degree program for medical residents in psychiatry and anthropology. As a logical extension of his research on the natural forms of face-to-face behavior and their relationship to persuasion, conflict resolution, and impression management in larger groups, Dr. Deutsch was invited by Nobel Laureate Konrad Lorenz to conduct cross-cultural inquiries under the auspices of the Max Planck Society of the Federal Republic of Germany. During his years with the Society, Dr. Deutsch traveled to various preliterate societies (e.g., Eipo of New Guinea, Yanomamo of Venezuela), as well as Third World and industrialized nations, to study how leading ideas emerge in a culture.

Deutsch has also traveled throughout Western Europe and the Mediterranean studying the ease and folly of cross-cultural communication. Dr. Deutsch then served as an in-house consultant to the US Government on behavioral and psychological factors related to persuasion in face-to-face and mass communication. In that capacity, he traveled throughout most of the world advising on “what sells’ in public diplomacy and international negotiations.

After ten years of Government service, Dr. Deutsch opened Brain Sells, a private practice in public communications that focuses primarily on advising advertising agencies and corporations as to both “big picture” issues such as primal analyses of a public’s mood and mind, as well as project-based work on strategic branding and its implications for media planning and business development.

He also conducts conceptual studies on topics of general interest to marketing, such as: What Is Luxury? What Is Authenticity? What are the Levels of Complexity in Human Cognition? Why is the Perception of Time the Major Gender Difference?

Synthesizing all these experiences, Dr. Deutsch has created a unique approach to uncovering what he calls “the primal, macro-structures that people live in today.”
This approach is known as PRIMALysis. It encompasses procedures for discovering the primal symbols, images, metaphors, and stories that reside in the public mind when imagining a particular product, person, or notion. He has applied this methodology in such varied venues as assisting the Foreign Ministry of Japan plan new strategies for international public diplomacy, to helping Dunkin’ Donuts understand the tribal differences between its customers and Starbucks-goers, to providing American Express an analysis of the authentic experience of being a Small Business Owner.

Dr. Deutsch has also conducted a number of ground-breaking studies for the healthcare industry – pharmaceutical companies and insurance providers – on how to validly segment the population, understand compliance, and expand brand beyond ‘early adopters.’

Dr. Deutsch is presently writing a book: The Artful Marketer: What You Have To Remember (And Have To Forget) When Marketing To Anyone. Whether applied to business or politics, Dr. Deutsch is one of the leading strategists on how the mind creates beliefs and how beliefs can be influenced. As he is known for saying, “Data or attributes are not the issue. The mind evolved to act, not to think.”

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