Reptilian brain: the six stimuli
“Mastering these six stimuli
your ability to sell,
market and communicate
and gives you the key
the decision-making process.”
— Christophe Morin, PhD, Researcher–Neuromarketing
The six stimuli that give you access to the Reptilian Brain
The Reptilian controls the ‘buy button’ in your customers’ brain so understanding its reactions and their hidden drivers are critical to understanding how your customers will behave.
In evolutionary terms, the Reptilian Brain is the oldest of our Three Brains. It is our ‘survival brain’. In addition to controlling the body’s vital functions, the Reptilian is focused solely on its well-being and survival. Buying activates our survival mechanism. Inspiring and motivating the Old Brain require speaking a new language which brings about new communication principles.
Authors, such as Dr. Morin and Renvoisé, who have reflected on the work of experts in neuroscience such as Drs. Robert Ornstein, Joseph Ledoux, Leslie Hart, or Bert Decker, highlight six stimuli that trigger the Reptilian Brain and influence the marketing decision. “Mastering these six stimuli immediately improves your ability to sell, market and communicate” and gives you the key to unlocking the decision-making process. Here’s a brief description of the six stimuli that give you direct access to the Reptilian:
1. Self-centredness. The old brain is “the centre of ME and has no patience, empathy or concern for anything other than its own immediate well-being and survival”. Therefore your entire focus should be on your customer (not yourself), making liberal use of the words ‘You and Your’.
2. Contrast. Clear contrast allow the Reptilian to make instant decisions and avoid confusion that creates delays. The old brain is wired to pay attention to disruptions and changes. Before/after, with/without, slow/fast, risky/safe, all allow the old brain to decide. Without contrast, the ‘Reptilian Brain’ enters a state of confusion, which ultimately results in delaying decision. Therefore your message needs to create contrast and avoid neutral statements that dulls it.
3. Tangible input. ‘Numbers work for the New Brain, but the ‘Reptilian Brain’ won’t decide based on numbers alone!’ The Reptilian is constantly scanning for familiar and friendly, tangible and immutable. Tangible input is preferred by the old brain because it saves the extra time and energy involved in thinking. Easily grasped statements like ‘more money’ is preferred over ‘maximizing ROI’. It can’t process concepts like “flexible solution”, “integrated approach”, or “scalable architecture” without effort and doubt.
4. The Beginning and the End. The old brain has a short attention span and tries to conserve (thinking) energy by eliminating unnecessary content. This fact has enormous implications for the design and delivery of effective communications. Your most important content needs to be presented at the beginning, and repeated at the end. Anything in the middle will be mostly overlooked.
5. Visual stimuli. The Reptilian Brain is visual. It prefers visual stimuli which are processed faster than words and concepts. Visual processing reaches the Reptilian up to 10 times faster and warns you of danger long before the new brain becomes aware. Because visual stimuli enter the Reptilian Brain first, that gives you a fast and effective connection to the true decision-maker.
6. Emotion. ‘The Reptilian is strongly triggered by Emotion’ It is emotion that chemically encodes information for action and memory storage. That means ‘we remember events better when we have experienced them with strong emotions’. Emotions are not optional, they are the basic fuel that the brain needs to make decisions. Rational decisions don’t exist, rational thoughts are the product of emotions. The conclusion for business communicators is that if you want to be memorable and remembered, you need to add emotion.
What hinders the decision-making process?
1. Focusing on yourself, company or product to the exclusion of your buyers’ needs.
2. Not providing clearly contrasting reasons that support your selling proposition.
3. Being too conceptual and requiring thought.
4. Communicating unnecessary content and not emphasizing selling points in the beginning and the end.
5. Relying too heavily on words, both spoken and written.
6. Lacking emotion.
Neurowise™ helps you simplify and clarify your messages
By using the six stimuli that the Reptilian Brain responds to, MängaDesign’s Neurowise™ helps you simplify and clarify your messages, lessening the brain’s burden of information processing, thereby facilitating decision making. Neurowise™ satisfies your customers’ rational, emotional and survival instincts residing in the Reptilian Brain and motivates them to buy.