Thinking Fast and Slow


Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking Fast and Slow talks about System 1 and System 2 thinking. System 1 thinking is “fast, instinctive and emotional” while system 2 is “slower more deliberate and logical”

As consumers – and as people – we respond immediately to stimuli such as communications, appearance, aroma, taste, etc. We make our connections instantly. This is System 1 thinking – emotional. We then back this up with System 2 thinking, we reflect upon our responses and rationalise them.

So why is most marketing focused upon rational responses, brand propositions, USPs, product benefits etc. and most research upon understanding and measuring the post rationalised responses of consumers rather than understanding their immediate emotional response? What we really need to understand are the cues in our product, our service, our communications etc. that drive these – System 1 – emotions?

Perhaps it is easier – and thus cheaper – to measure what we can see, what is on the surface. But if we really want to understand our brands, products, services, communications we need to understand our consumers’ emotional response to them and how we can improve this emotional response by often very small changes.