No Brainer Marketing: The Next Revolution

No Brainer Marketing: The Next Revolution

Great marketing is about making it intuitive and easy for people to choose your brand. So as a creative and media company, we understand that the business we are really in is the business of attention & memory.  

For a brand or business to be successful, it needs people to choose it. And given the exponential increase in choice surrounding our daily lives, it’s vital to understand how the choices humans make today are driven by our evolutionary history, or human nature. If we can have a better understanding then presumably we can better direct our marketing efforts to unlock greater value at lower cost. Sounds good, right?

Over the course of our lives, we are presented with millions of choices, ranging from trivial to life changing and momentous. Luckily, our brains have evolved a number of mental shortcuts, biases and tricks that allow us to quickly negotiate this endless array of decisions. We don’t want to rationally deliberate every choice we make, and thanks to these cognitive rules of thumb, we don’t need to.

Humans have survived and evolved by making quick decisions that have worked out well for us more often than they didn’t. By making good and efficient choices, our ancestors lived long enough to reproduce, and we inherited their innate decision-making capacities.

In order to make these quick decisions, we developed efficient cognitive processes that behavioural psychologists have named heuristics. Our brain has developed these heuristics to help us make very quick decisions that don’t use much energy. That’s why we love ‘no brainers’ so much. If you can make you’re brand a ‘no brainer’, you’ll be well ahead of the game as feeling right trumps being right in the world of choice.

Try this thought exercise out to see a demonstration between our conscious & non-conscious thought processing:

An example of non-conscious processing, described as Fast Thinking.
2 + 2 = ?
What is the capital of France?

An example of conscious processing, described as Slow Thinking.
264 – 543 = ?
How many countries are there beginning with the letter A?

Once we understand these two processing systems we can begin to pivot our rational communication & begin framing our products & services in a way that appeals to our brains. Whilst these ideas are not new in the academic world, it has been a slow transition into the business world – but there are growing signs of hope.

Adding psychological value to your marketing & customer’s experience is much easier and cost-effective than adding statistical or incremental value to your products or service.

Numerous academic experiments demonstrating the “anchoring effect” of first impressions on pricing have been conducted with high validity.

How do you integrate these behavioural insights into your marketing program? Consider this useful 3-stage approach.

– Create small experiments designed to test commonly known cognitive biases and current assumptions. An example could be testing whether including  the time it takes to complete an online form raises the level of completed conversions. Thus instinctively lowering the perceived effort required to convert your online customers.

Measure – Split test everything. Record measurable differences between control & exposed groups over a set period of time and extrapolate those differences out over time.

Learn – Using the scientific method in time will become ingrained in your tactical marketing tool belt. The learnings shared between agency & client. Marketing teams, sales & finance. The goal is in the advancement of ideas. Ideas that lead to greater efficiency and business advantage. And the ultimate understanding that marketing is not a cost, but an investment.


The rate of change in technology today is dizzying. There’s no shortage of experts predicting the next 6 months. Perhaps counter intuitively, some of the biggest business wins may simply be from what has happened in the last 6 million years.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these insights. Let us know about your next project or just say hello.

Acknowledgements: Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman, Rory Sutherland, Matthew Wilcox.