Who’s the true decision maker?

“Neuromarketing research
has scientifically proven
that speaking to the
Reptilian Brain
will increase your
effectiveness in
communicating an idea
or selling a product.”

— Christophe Morin, PhD, Researcher–Neuromarketing

We think we think
The revolution in neuroscience, has revealed the brain’s secrets, giving us deep insights into our cognitive processes.The key finding is that more than 90% of purchasing decisions, are made on an entirely subconscious level. That means most of us are actually only talking to 10% of our potential customers’ brains! Fortunately, scientists are able to study just what kind of marketing and branding appeals to that other 90% of our brains.
But first, let’s meet the brain.

Get to know your brain
Easily the most complex and sophisticated information transfer on Earth, the human brain—this small organ of 1500 cm³—contains over 100 billion living cells and one million kilometres of interconnecting fibre. The brain is responsible for all our decisions and guides everything we do. But exactly how does it function? How do we derive our emotions, our motivations, and our decisions, big and small, from such a compact and complex device?

Three brains, one decision maker
We are all familiar with the brain’s two hemispheres: left, responsible for rational thinking and right for conceptual thought. In addition, evolutionarily, the brain is categorized into three distinct parts—according to the way it has developed over millions of years. Because these three parts have different cellular structure and fulfill different functions, they are in fact, three brains. Here they are, starting from the outer-layer:

The New Brain (Neocortex) thinks. It processes rational data. Middle Brain (Limbic) feels. It processes emotions and gut feelings. The Reptilian (also called the Old Brain) decides. It takes into account the input from the other two brains, but the Reptilian Brain—we now know—is the actual trigger of decision.

Three Brains

Meet the Reptilian
The body of research that demonstrates the prevalence of the Reptilian Brain in the decision making process is overwhelming. In the book How the Brain Works, human brain scientist Leslie Hart states: “Much evidence now indicates that the old brain [reptilian] is the main switch in determining what sensory input will go to the neocortex, and what decisions will be accepted from it.”

The Reptilian is our oldest brain. A primitive organ that has developed over millions of years—a direct result of the basic evolutionary process. It’s our ‘fight or flight’ brain and is called Reptilian, because it‘s still present in reptiles today. It only cares about survival and reproduction. It operates on a fully subconscious level. It’s what makes you jump at seeing a twisted twig on the forest ground, because subconsciously you thought it could’ve been a snake.

Reptilian always wins
The Reptilian (or the Old Brain), is self-centred and constantly scans the environment for threats. It seeks pain avoidance over thrills. It’s pre-verbal, so the Old Brain doesn’t understand complex messages. And because the brain needs to save energy, the Reptilian has a strong bias for mental shortcuts over long deliberations. If a conflict arises between the Rational, Emotional and Reptilian Brain, the Reptilian always wins, because survival comes first. Reality and numbers don’t matter.

The Reptilian is visual
The Old Brain’s decisions are driven through the perception of a message and visual representation is the most important. Our eyes are directly connected to the Reptilian Brain, through a second, sub-cortical processing path. In fact, this is one of its most powerful features: the ability to process visual stimuli without the use of the visual cortex. That explains why we prefer images over words and experiences over explanations.

New communication principles
In our “always-on” digital world, it is estimated that we receive as much as 10,000 messages per day. This volume of data is largely irrelevant unless it speaks directly to the Reptilian Brain. Cristophe Morin, a known researcher and pioneer neuromarketer asserts: “Neuromarketing research has scientifically proven that speaking to the Reptilian Brain will increase your effectiveness in communicating an idea or selling a product”

That’s why at MängaDesign, we believe that all your sales and marketing messages, should employ the scientific NeuroCommunication principles in order to engage and connect with your audience, and make a difference to your bottom line.

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09 Dec 2013