Braincandy Group
Irrational Academy

In the previous story we referred to the impact of our expectations on the reality we experience. In other words, how much we influence what we finally experience, by having certain expectations in advance. In this one, I will show you why this insight is important for your job.


Imagine that you want to encourage someone to eat yoghurt. Which of the following stages of the process do you think will motivate him/her more? Seeing the package, picking it up, opening it, putting the spoon in it, smelling it, tasting it or eating a second spoonful? I bet that most of you thought of tasting it or putting the spoon in it. But you are wrong. According to a recent neurological scientific research, which was conducted by NeuroFocus using electronic EEG, the stage that activates our brain more than anything else is the moment we open the package by removing the cover.

This finding complies with other neurological scientific experiments which basically prove that the reward centre of our brain is activated by our expectations. It is the expected reward that is valuable and practically leads to purchase. This is no surprise, if we consider that we make the decision to purchase a product before consuming it and therefore the only clues available are based on our expectations. Our expectations, however, can be quite abstract. As Phil Barden mentions in his book Decoded, “Teenagers that use Axe do not end up having the most attractive girls, and of course they do not see angels falling from the sky when they spray their body with this perfume. However, they keep buying this product”.

The world of marketing is full of similar examples where brands make promises that clearly cannot be met. The reason this works is because, as we have repeatedly mentioned, we are not rational beings. Of course, we will not become stronger by eating a Snickers bar, but that’s how we feel at that moment. As marketing expert of Harley Davidson mentions about his brand, “What we sell is the potential for a 43 old accountant to get dressed in black leather clothes, and drive through small villages making people scared”. In other words, brands work in the exact same way as placebos.

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