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What is System 1?

System 1 is the subconscious, rapid decision-making part of your brain. It is intuitive, associative and enables instinctive behaviour.

System 2 is the conscious, slower decision-making part of your brain. It enables rational thought but requires much more mental effort than System 1.

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What is System 1 ‘short-­cut language’?

A brand’s short-­cut language comprises of the vital visual and sensory assets in a brand’s communications and packaging that drive brand recognition and relevance for consumers at an implicit level; it is stored in the System 1 part of the brain.

System 1 selectively stores the most memorable visual, or sensory stimuli from a brand’s communications or from real world experience of the brand. The power of this stimuli often differs between brands; differences that can both impact the effectiveness of marketing communications and ease of buying in store.

Because consumers have no way of consciously knowing what System 1 has stored, brands can often discarded important parts of their short-cut language despite researching changes to their marketing mix.


How does System 1 ‘short-­cut Language’ influence in-store behaviour?

An effective System 1 short-cut language can allow consumers to find a brand and decide to buy without the need for slow rational thinking; often meaning competitive choices are ignored. Watch the clip to see rapid and instinctive System 1 decision-making in action. Recognition of the brand triggers automatic selection.

“One of the greatest potential sources of competitive advantage for brands is to design for low involvement and passive communication contexts. The decision-making sciences time and again demonstrate the powerful influence of rapid, automatic and implicit processing; gaining attention is rarely the primary success criteria that leads to winning in the marketplace.”

Dr Anthony Grimes, Sheffield Business School