System One is trained to act on intuition and emotion, it’s the first to say yes, to jump to conclusions and is mostly in charge of what we pick off the shelf and put in our basket. It also makes sure nobody ever leaves for biscuits and comes back empty handed.
Then there are other points of purchase, where it’s an investment, like a TV. Our System One has already recognised that it’s nice and shiny and that life is better with a bigger screen. We then gather more information (price, quality, sound, other features), weigh up the decision (what are the winners and losers, maybe ask a few friends), make the purchase, and see how it performs.
This is our System Two (Prefrontal Cortex) side of the brain. It’s patient, has a good concentration, taps into constructive thoughts and helps us behave responsibly. I like to think of the two sides as the chatty little angel and devil characters that mess with your decision making. We’ve all seen the cartoons. You can decide which one’s which.
Although these two sides will always exist (thankfully), the driver behind the decision making is evolving. As consumers, we’re becoming more and more aware of the impact we, as a society, are having on the planet and we want to feel engaged and empowered to do something positive about it. We want something to believe in.
This isn’t new. Roy Disney (Walts older brother) said it a long time ago, ‘It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.’
Come back to the present day and Alan Pope, Unilever CEO says that sustainable living brands grew 69% faster than the rest of Unilever’s businesses in 2018. He goes on to say that ‘companies with purpose last, brands with purpose grow and people with purpose thrive’. In fact brands with purpose are delivering 75% of Unilever’s overall growth.
Even Marmite’s getting a deeper sense of purpose that goes beyond its genericised ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ strapline. I ‘hate’ it, by the way.
Where System Two has previously been driven by rationalised, reasoned and recognised need, 65% of consumers now claim they are buying on the basis of their beliefs. Not only that, but Google says that consumers often make up their mind on a product before even walking into the store.
With Amazon, Google, Youtube and just about all retailers offering customer reviews and demos like never before, the product review can make or break shoppers’ decisions.
I’m guilty of checking reviews for everything from TVs to toothpaste. It’s word of mouth in digital form (Google calls this the Zero Moment of Truth). More than ever, consumers are looking for brands to satisfy their beliefs, and it has to come beaming with golden yellow stars or we’re walking.