Neophile: A neophile can be defined as a personality type characterized by a strong affinity for novelty.

Neophiles have the following characteristics:

  • The ability to adapt rapidly to extreme change
  • A distaste or downright loathing of tradition, repetition, and routine
  • A tendency to become bored quickly with old things
  • A desire, bordering on obsession in some cases, to experience novelty

Psychologists have tracked neophiles over time. This is what Psychology Today had to say about them:

“Looking under the hood of the person high in novelty-seeking, it seems that dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter, seems to be involved.  According to research conducted by Zalid et al (2009), high dopamine activity in a specific part of the midbrain is higher in individuals high in novelty-seeking, even after controlling for age and gender. An orientation toward reward could help account for the relationship between the desire to seek out new experiences and a tendency to develop addictive behaviors.

Some forms of novelty-seeking may, on the plus side, may be related to creativity. According to Marvin Zuckerman, people who seek pleasure from new experiences are also likely to be more creative. The ability to have big ideas seems to require a certain degree of enjoyment of expanding your mental horizons into new territory.

Novelty-seeking, then, is a mixed bag in terms of its ability to get you through life. To get the most benefit from novelty-seeking, it’s important to keep the balance in mind between sameness and change. New may be better than old, but not at the cost to your mental health.”

Advertising was always a meeting point for neophiles. We had to find new ideas, new insights, new ways of connecting with people.

The emergence of new platforms, new channels and new bright shiny objects has moved the industry to pathological extremes of neophilia. I’ve met with a client recently that planned on delivering their messages through 28 channels. They had enough budget to disseminate their message to the point where it is spread so thin, they are ensured to make no impact.

Brands should not create confusion. Their communication planning should deliver a cogent vision and definition of their values. Only then customers will contribute to the brand, rather than spreading confusion. When Social Media gives the customer the possibility to mass-publish any thought or personal opinion, a comprehensive and well-defined definition of a brand is more important than ever.

Agencies should be in the business of building brands.

The agency neophiles are diluting  brands.