Beyond Reason

Ze hebben uw brein gehacked. Ge weet er zelfs niet van, en toch is het zo. Een beetje grijze massa laat zich toch niet zo gemakkelijk commanderen, zegt ge? Tarara. Beyond Reason ontwikkelde met hulp van Harvard een test die menig een marketing manager intussen het koud zweet doet uitbreken. Blijkt namelijk dat al die marktonderzoeken waarbij u gevraagd wordt waarom ge voor Bicky chips hebt gekozen in de plaats van pickles, geen cent waard zijn. Waarom niet? Omdat gij die aankoopbeslissingen helemaal niet bewust maakt. De consument in u is een slaapwandelaar die chips uitkiest op basis van oeroude instincten en noden. Wen er maar aan: uw reptielenbrein stuurt uw aankoopbeslissingen. En Beyond Reason stuurt uw reptielenbrein.

A Belgian-British start-up that uses neuroscience to hack the purchase decision. It might sound like the plot of a Black Mirror episode, but it is happening right here, right now.

Hacking the purchase decision

The future of businesses big and small depends on their capacity to influence the purchase decision. Their success depends on the ability to make consumers choose them instead of choosing another. The guy of the coffee shop on this side of the street wants you to walk into his place and forget about the coffee shop on the other side of the street. Coca-Cola wants you to buy their fizz and forget about Pepsi. Different scale, sure, but the same principles apply. Influencing the purchase decision is the ‘live or die’ skill of the commercial arena.

Enter the marketing professional. The essence of his job is — yes — to influence purchase decisions. To do this, the marketing professional passes on information. Zillions are invested in creating and broadcasting commercial messages that express the strongest possible reason to buy whatever it is they’re selling. The remarkable thing is that your average marketeer and even your far above average marketeer, have little or no knowledge about how the human brain takes decisions, and an even a lesser understanding of recent scientific insights in this domain.

Enter Beyond Reason, both the name of a marketing consultancy and of a next-gen marketing method, which is firmly rooted in cutting-edge decision science. First and foremost, Beyond Reason exploits the ‘Implicit Motivation’ theory, which can be boiled down to the fact that people are not consciously aware of what motivates the decisions they make. This includes purchase decisions. Meaning people do not really know why they buy what they buy.

This mere fact, however, does not deter marketeers from doing market research on grand scales, using nothing other than a questionnaire designed to ask people why they’ve just bought the purple shampoo and not the green one. Sure, when interviewed about their purchase motives, consumers can sum up some reasons, but never all of them. Equally, they fail to attribute the correct weight or importance to their purchase motives. Which makes perfect sense: one cannot expect people to rationalise their own irrational brain processes.

This explains why marketing managers of global brands don’t know what motivates consumers to buy their products and services. This, though, creates a little problem. How on earth can you create commercial messages that convey the strongest reason to buy, if you don’t know what that reason to buy is in the first place?

Beyond Reason solves this fundamental marketing issue. The crucial element is the BRIM, an innovative research methodology, co-developed by senior scientists of ‘Project Implicit’, a collaboration between Harvard, Virginia and Washington universities. BRIM breaks through the threshold of conscious thought, and extracts the consumers’ implicit purchase motives. Hacking the purchase decision, if you wish.

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