Today’s experiment in our BrainJuicer Advent Calendar!
The Experiment: “System 1” – the fast, instinctive, often unconscious mode of decision making identified by Daniel Kahneman – is the concept that underpins almost all our work at BrainJuicer these days. If we can use research to understand people’s System 1 thinking, we can get at the real drivers for most of their decisions. Older research methods create an environment in which the more deliberative “System 2” is encouraged – they risk missing crucial factors in decision making.
Of all the experiments we’ve done this year, nothing illustrates this better than the “System 1 Pack Test”. A client came to us with a problem: their brand was consistently outperforming its competitors in packaging research, but was getting beaten at shelf. What was the research missing? The client felt that emotion was the key.
The hypothesis was simple: the competitor’s pack made people feel better.
The competitor was using information-light packaging with appealing visuals which made people’s decision making at shelf simpler than the client’s information-rich packs. System 1 decisions ought to be fun, fast, and easy to make, and the competitor fit this brief better.
But during research, system 2 took over, and the information and rational benefits listed on the client’s pack gave it the edge.
So how to get around this? We decided distraction and time pressure were key. Under pressure, people usually default to an option that comes easily to mind – in this case, the competitor pack, with its simpler, more emotionally appealing packaging.
So we built an online module which gave participants a simulated shelf and then introduced distractions – in the form of tannoy announcements – and time pressure to stop them resorting to considered system 2 assessments.
What happened? Continue reading