I recently became a mother and was exposed to the most miraculous thing – the development of the human brain! Observing my newborn taught me far more about consumer and shopper behavior than I could ever have imagined.
Consider this: a 4-week-old fetus forms new neurons at a rate of 250,000 every minute. A healthy baby will emerge from the womb with 100 billion neurons, nearly twice as many neurons as adults, in a brain that’s half the size. Why would such a little brain need so much more capacity? For learning; a baby’s most critical and absorbing task.
While brain volume will double by the age of 3, not all of those neurons will stick around; the brain will shed weaker synaptic connections in favor of stronger ones. Why? To save time and energy. How? One of the main mechanisms is to establish habits, which allow us to simultaneously think less and do more, because routines don’t require re-evaluation and re-learning. This is how shoppers act; they stick to established routines. The challenge for your emerging brand, then, is breaking those powerful habits and routines, and creating new ones.
The good news is that the brain is plastic. Adults still have capacity to learn and re-learn new ways of doing things – which means it’s possible for us to disrupt shoppers’ habits. How can we rewire such a powerful organ as the brain? By creating a hugely powerful impact that resonates on a deep emotional level. You need to engage consumers repeatedly, continuously and regularly. And you need to offer not just products and services but unique and memorable experiences that fire up those synoptic connections and create unforgettable impact. These 3 E’s – Emotion, Engagement and Experience – are the components of Fresh’s Behavioural Plasticity insight models.