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Great apes can learn words. They can learn to understand spoken words and can learn to use sign language to communicate their words and feelings. Chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos; they’ve all been taught to understand and communicate words. Koko, probably the most famous of the great ape communicators, can understand over 2,000 English words and over 1,000 ASL words.

The one thing they have never done though: Ask a question. In the decades of research communicating with apes, not one ape has asked a question. This is because apes lack a Theory of Mind.

“Theory of mind (often abbreviated ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc. — to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own.” – Wikipedia

Apes don’t understand that others have thoughts, knowledge or experiences that are separate from their own. Without the level of cognition and introspection that reveals the Theory of Mind, apes don’t understand that others have information to share with them, so they won’t ask for this information.


Social Media is the Theory of Mind on steroids. As humans, we understand the value of the information others have. The Internet and Social Media has given us unprecedented access to the information of our friends, colleagues and companies.

All this access to information from trusted sources has changed the buyers journey and how buyers make purchase decisions. People now ask a lot of questions before making a purchase but who are they asking?

It used to be that they were asking questions to your salespeople. Now, though, almost 60% of the purchase decision is made before a prospect even speaks with a salesperson. They’re are still asking the questions but they are getting their answers from the Internet and Social Media.

A well-planned inbound marketing and social media strategy will help your business be the one who provides the answers the questions people are asking within your industry. As you position your business as an expert in your field using the Internet and Social Media, you will gain customers and loyal promoters.

Is your business marketing from the Planet of the Apes? If your business doesn’t have a strategy to use the Internet and Social Media to gain leads and attract customers, use the link below to contact CharmLab for a free Social Media Assessment.

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