reset your thinking

20% is not high enough in marketing

The neocortex sets humans apart from most other animals. The human being and, therefore, the consumer, has three brains – the reptilian brain, the limbic system, and the neocortex. In general terms, the reptilian brain is responsible for automatic or intuitive decision-making; the limbic brain is responsible for feelings and emotions, and; the neocortex is responsible for cognitive activity or actual thinking. Research suggests that while the neocortex sets humans apart from other animals, as few as 20% of decisions are made in the neocortex. In other words, 80% of decisions are emotional, intuitive, or automatic. Further, this is as true in business as elsewhere.

As we come to the end of the virus crisis, we should recognise this along with the potential to stop relying on intuition and emotion and increase the percentage of decisions made in the neocortex. I would argue that any business that commits to this will stand a better chance of leveraging the enormous opportunities and address the significant challenges resulting from the new world we will be living in. The challenges arising from COVID-19, the shut down, and economic hibernation on top of the weak economic conditions that existed before the virus will continue to create huge challenges. This will create enormous opportunities for those who can identify, and address them objectively, without emotion.

Some of the opportunities will be short term, while others will be long term. One long-term opportunity will be a massive increase in the use of digital technology, particularly e-commerce. The CEO of Woolworths recently noted that the growth in e-commerce over recent months had equalled the past year. There is little chance this will abate. As a result, Woolworths has been shedding front-line staff and employing staff for backroom e-commerce rolls. Short-term opportunities will include the pent-up desire of people who have been in lockdown. They want to get out and eat, drink, and play. There will be an immediate, possibly short-term boost in restaurant, tavern, movie theatre, sporting, and other entertainment. People will find the money to get out and play.

The one dark cloud looming is research suggesting that people will initially be reluctant to return to venues as social distancing is now engrained in the Australian psyche.

Capitalising fully on these opportunities will require:

  • Intensive research to identify the opportunities (and challenges)
  • Methodical planning and organisation based on rational thinking
  • An attitude that embraces the challenges of the new environment

We can accept the doom and gloom that many are spruiking, or we can go hard to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. It seems to me that focusing on doom and gloom is emotional and unproductive, while rationally identifying and addressing opportunities could be very productive, indeed.

RECOMMENDATION – treat the hibernation as a respite. Think rationally, and ignore emotion and intuition.  Press hard to identify and capitalise on the huge number of post virus opportunities.

OPPORTUNITY – By the time this is over, people will have been locked away for 6 or 8 weeks. They will be champing at the bit to have some fun and to shop. Be 100% ready to help them do just that.


D. John Carlson – +61 (0) 402 273 350 


 – First published in June 2020 – CLICK HERE 

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