What is neuroscience telling us about building a human brand?

Rational Advertising is dead.



Pat Costello

Executive Vice President, Brand

is fundamental to our approach. We look to the System 1 and System 2 model developed by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman for insights that guide us to more effective marketing and advertising.

What's the difference between System 1 and System 2 thinking?

System 1 thinking focuses on immediate payoffs. It overlooks long-term consequences and the need for follow-through. System 1 hates uncertainty and will fill in information gaps and onstruct a cohesive story to overcome uncertainty. The better the story, the firmer the belief it inspires. System 2 thinking is what we mean by rational thought and reasoned decision-making. It's a controlled mental process that takes a great deal of focus and effort.

Revelation 1:

We are feeling machines that think.

We all like to think of ourselves as rational beings, but it's not really the case. Unconscious motives and preferences drive us in ways we're not even aware of. We can offer what seem like rational reasons for our decisions, but desire for a particular outcome colors how convincing these reasons seem to us.

“We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think”

— Antonio Damasio, Neurobiologist

Revelation 2:

People use System 1 thinking a lot more.

This isn't a knock on our analytical abilities, in which we take great pride. System 2 thinking simply has its limits. The part of the brain responsible for it— the prefrontal cortex—is easily overwhelmed by even small amounts of data. This type of thinking requires concentration, and it can't multi-task. When System 2 is overwhelmed, the brain defaults to System 1.

System 1 works through the process of associative memory. It continually looks for connections between words and images, feelings and actions, ideas and memories to build a cohesive interpretation of life as we experience it. It's our internal storyteller. (ADbites)

Revelation 3:

System 1 and System 2 are not in competition.

We're able to function precisely because these two different kinds of thinking work together. It's a marvel of evolutionary development that lets us meet most of life's challenges with efficient, often reflexive action while reserving the bandwidth needed for complicated, difficult decision-making.

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