He picks me, he picks me not…
most significant & well recognized job you ask? Examining & pre-empting most of your reactions to what I am about to talk in this post.
Since human behaviour fascinates me the most, I thought of digging deeper and comprehending certain actions of the human brain better. Have we ever thought of how well designed a human brain and its functionality is? It is a puzzling treasure. Though it’s not predesigned and has resulted from never ending evolution, it’s astonishing how cognitive capability has lead to some amazing worldly interventions. A fair combination of feeling, seeing and thinking is performed to keep the game going. Every peculiar human behaviour is a result of the above mentioned combination, the kind of behaviours and attitudes we all witness on a day to day basis.
While a lot of fancy neurological and behavioural science concepts have been existing for centuries together, not much of it has been utilized to target the giant bull’s eye. Every vertical of the industry is still working in silos, resulting to only possible improvisations in the current product/design but hey, didn’t you listen to the consumer? He/she probably doesn’t even understand the purpose of your product. Let me tell you how it works, a human walks into a shop, looks at the wide range of possible redundant inventions/designs, almost pulls his/her hair out because decision making just got super complicated, mostly walks out with nothing in his/her hand. Majority of the customers are looking for value for the money they spend then why exactly does any particular brand expect them to settle down for their product when the room is filled with a bunch of clones? How is their delivery ANY DIFFERENT?
Let’s do what I like doing the most- dig the human brain up, arguably the most futile discussion (or may be not). The human brain is known to be a powerhouse of multitudinous neurons, rigorously co-ordinating with the other parts of the body, helping us develop individual traits and apt reactions to stimuli. Now let’s break down these complex equations of functioning. I know I like Oreo cream but then I haven’t tried the new variants- chocolate Oreo and the strawberry Oreo, legit life issues. Suddenly I spot Bourbon and I keep the pack of Oreo cream back in the rack and pick the pack of Bourbon (No, I usually just pick all of them) because less steps taken to MAKE A DECISION.
It is all about the kind of reaction the brain produces. It always boils down to getting accepted or rejected, may it be a design, a product, a service, or a person. Back in the day, when I used to ask the shopkeeper for a packet of biscuit he used to hand me a pack of Parle-G or Marie Gold. Today, there is an entire aisle dedicated to just dry snacks. The persistent muddle is that one single consumer has a gazillion products and services to choose from and that in itself is a pathetic experience. He/she is neither fully ready to accept or reject any of the presented options.
Now that these points are discovered after tracking consumer experiences, designers and other industry people are working on it by growing far more consistent, sticking to basics and doing some in depth consumer research to widen the outreach. What many marketers are not doing is studying this tiny part of the body that is ultimately responsible for making decisions.
Fortunately, there are a few individuals and firms that are determined to deliver better experiences and hence have put together this niche segment called ‘Neuro Design’. “Neurodesign is an approach that lets you look at the brain triggers behind good customer experience and use them to help you make better informed design decisions based on customer behaviour, human trends, and overall customer or company interactions.”
With the increasing importance being given to human behaviour studies, firms have started using various methodologies to crack the brain’s functioning. So, given that a major part of our brain reacts to stimuli other than text, companies are switching over to providing potential customers with experiences like tasting, transparent packaging and a swatch to demonstrate the feel and not just rely on fancy external appearance. Further, our brains are naturally coded to fit-in, which then led to the formulation of the popular review & validation system. Most of what we shop for at a supermarket comes after eyeing the fellow shopper’s cart.
The recent most additions to this study are mirror neurons and neuroplasticity. In the late 90s, neuroscientists discovered that experiences actually change the structure of the brain. Mirror neurons function to create a perception about experience/products. Once a perception is built, the brain expects the same from similar experiences/products. This is exactly why switching from an android phone to an iOS phone is not as easy.
Neuroplasticity is a mechanism that changes the brain’s structure and functioning, thereby opening up a new window of interactions with the customers, based on the specific product/service, depending on their life stage & the intensity of exposure one has.
A consistent consideration of all the above concepts while designing products/services will help brands and markets not only target and manufacture precisely but will also help tackle a lot of other issues like excessive production, disguised unemployment and waste management. Let’s hope the current generation of innovators work towards serving what we all inherently seek & not what we think we need.