I’m an autopilot driver. Yes this type of driver does actually exists. I’m not filthy rich, so no super fancy car that does everything for me and no, don’t have a chauffeur. I have a magical brain who just switch to autopilot when I get in the car. My brain is SO magical that it even goes into autopilot mode when I enter a grocery store! I enter an aisle and my brain just take over. KOO Beatroot not white label; Old Gold tomato sauce not Heinz Ketchup, extra lean mince not normal or lean mince. I can go on and on and on. As I said, my brain is a GENIUS cause he makes decision on my behalf without even needing to THINK about it!!

And let’s be honest – YOURS is as well.

You know that you have your own “autopilot” moments where you do things just because you’ve always done it like that. This is called heuristics in Behavioural Economics and if you want to get REAAAALY technical it’s defined as being a mental shortcut when you are in a decision making situation. It’s kind of like the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler where he has a magic remote to fast-forward through the bad or boring parts of his life, without being consciously aware of what’s happening to him. If only he knew he didn’t need to use a magic remote, but rather his magic brain!

Why does heuristics occur in the first place and why should YOU as a communications or marketing specialist care about it. Because these mental decision making shortcuts becomes ingrained pathways in your brain. Every time a similar situation occurs, your brain switch to autopilot and endorse the decision you made before. You therefore do what you did before automatically without even thinking about it resulting in biases. It looks cloudy outside so you automatically take your umbrella. You automatically switch to another TV channel when a sci-fie movie is on. You automatically buy Albany bread. Funny enough, the saying “follow the path of least resistance” also applies to decision making.

If a decision you made in the past didn’t deliver great results, your brain automatically decides not to do THAT again. You got sopping wet, you sat through a 3 hour marathon of a TERRIBLE sci-fie movie, you bought another bread brand that were stale. Your magic brain starts to develop as you perform actions that you believe will deliver positive results. The more you perform them, the more entrenched they become. Trying to change them will obviously become VERY difficult to change because its happening subconsciously – like magic!

If you are the brand or business that are entrenched in your target market’s mind as they automatically choose you, be grateful and work hard to make sure you stay there in whatever way you can. If you are not then you have an uphill battle cause a bias for another brand or business has been created that YOU need to challenge and change.

I’ll use another Canne winner as an example. People’s mental shortcut for lunch was sandwiches. Even though people SAID chips with sandwiches are better, their bias was  towards sandwiches on its own; it didn’t really NEED anything else. Walker Crisps wanted to change that and created a whole campaign trying to eradicate this heuristic and ultimately bias to only having sandwiches at lunch. Click here to view the case study.

My point: realise that people (including YOU) have magic brains filled with mental shortcuts that create biases towards specific behaviours. Only once you understand THIS key ingredient to what it means to be human, can you create an epic strategy against the magic brain and make it work FOR you rather than against.

Happy magic hunting!