The guys over at BrainJuicer Labs really nailed this one.
In this 45+ min video, Orlando Wood, Managing Director of BrainJuicer Labs, walks us through the difference between “System 1” and “System 2” decision-making, and articulately explains how System 1 should be the main focus of your branding, packaging, and marketing strategies.

“System 1” vs “System 2” Decision-making

The human mind has two distinct decision-making systems: System 1 and System 2. System 2 is the slow, considered, and energy-draining system that is generally part of the learning process; it involves a lot of thinking. System 1, however, is an intuitive decision-making process that is based on automatic emotion; it involves almost no thought, is effortless, and is extremely fast.

In branding, packaging, and marketing in general, being aware of the difference between these two systems is ESSENTIAL. Not only do people not want to spend the energy on thinking about which brand they prefer, they rarely have the time to think about it.

How to make your branding System 1 ready

Wood tells us, “Aim for coherence and consistency in your packaging because it really helps in rushed System 1 [decision-making] conditions.”

You need to be consistent in your branding.

Why? Because consistency allows people to recognize your brand immediately–be it on the street, on TV, or on the shelf. Shape, color, font size, patterns–these are all bits of information that allow the human mind to understand what it is looking at immediately. (This is another reason why Visual Selling is so important.) In a situation with limited time to make decisions, people go with what is quickly recognizable and what is familiar. If your visual imagery or messaging changes from one thing to the next, it is that much harder for a person to recognize your brand the next time they see it.

Check out this slide:

The Importance of System 1

Not only did Tropicana lose almost all of its recognizable branding elements with their new packaging attempt, but they made the transition to conceptual messaging instead of the stronger visual selling. The results were disastrous!

Wood starts the video off paraphrasing Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and preeminent psychologist:

“We think much less than we think we think.”

Read that again.

These are important words to heed when making branding and marketing decisions. If you want a winning brand: Sell Visually and Be Consistent–in Orlando Wood’s terminology: focus on System 1 decision-making.

Be sure to check out BrainJucier Labs full video for their full explanation of how “Behavioral Economics Can Make Packaging More Effective” and their different methods for evaluating this effectiveness.


Andrew Garde Joia is a strategic planner, graphic designer, and co-founder with the Megan Kent Branding Group. He has a background in both the sciences and the arts, and is passionate about effective communication through intelligent and intuitive strategy. Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrewgardejoia