In the West in particular, we have always thought that decision-making was a predominantly conscious process: We know that a decision has to be made and we think about it and confront it by using our experience, logical thinking and common sense. Aristotle introduced us to this way of understanding and it reached its utmost expression in the Cartesian logic ("I think; then I exist")
However, although progress began in the 1970s (with the discovery of the "three-in-one brain" - instinctive, emotional and logical - by Paul McLean) and subsequently with other very prominent works particularly during the 1980s and the 1990s ("emotional intelligence" by Daniel Goleman, logical "errors" that can affect decision-making by Daniel Kahneman, etc.), it was not until 2002 when we were able to access the technological instruments that would confirm what has now become a new reality: We are eminently subconscious beings and therefore, predominantly irrational. The "PEPSI challenge" was the specific milestone that empirically established that, in a blind test, the majority of Americans preferred PEPSI however, when they knew beforehand which one was COCA COLA and which one was PEPSI, 75% of them preferred COCA COLA; in other words, it was scientifically proven how Marketing can affect our perception.
In other words: Today it is scientifically apparent that 97.6% of our decision-making processes occurs at a subconscious level (this is the most generally accepted figure, although more sceptical authors indicate that it is "only" 80%), that we are not even aware of 53% of these, given that they occur below our level of consciousness and that for the remaining 47%, what our conscious mind does is basically, justify them or inhibit them.
Based on the "PEPSI Challenge" experiment, 2002 can be considered the year in which a new discipline "officially" emerged: NeuroMarketing. That is, the application of these recent discoveries of neuroscience to commercial and marketing areas of companies to substantially increase the efficiency of their actions in such areas (whether it is negotiating in-person, brochures, adverts or the design of the product packaging, among many other examples). Today, more than 70% of Fortune 100 companies are using this new discipline with truly extraordinary results (it has been suggested that there can be a 10-fold increase in business where better NeuroMarketing practices are applied; i.e., the number of "impacts" of a television advertisement is multiplied by 10, for example).
So what is the rationale of NeuroMarketing? Very summarised, it is based on the idea that the more we tap into the emotions and even the primal instincts of our target audience to maximise sales, the more "real" their need becomes, even if they are not aware of this…
Three other disciplines that use neuroscience have also emerged: NeuroManagament (by using these discoveries in the area of personal development, such as coaching), NeuroEconomics (to predict the macroeconomic behaviour patterns of markets) and, the most recent one (in 2009), NeuroStrategy (applied to business strategic management), which we shall discuss further, when answering our initial question.
What was the question again: How is neuroscience going to reinvent YOUR sector and YOUR business? The reason would appear to lie more in the area of NeuroStrategy, because our understanding of our clients – and what they "truly" (subconsciously) need – is totally different to the "rational" one we had until now. Therefore, we need to understand our target market at that level in order to offer an objective value that is in turn perceived by the subconscious mind, and enables us to stand out with regard to our competitors and which will enable YOUR company to reinvent itself (and therefore reinvent the sector itself), in terms of corporate strategy and positioning of the various products in the different markets, for example, and among many areas, for YOUR employees and for suppliers.
We dare use the term reinvent because the subconscious mind understands its environment and what we are offering in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with what our conscious mind thinks or with what market studies tell us (also designed with the "thinking mind" of the target audience, which responds to surveys saying what they think which, generally, has very little to do with what they "truly" need). For example, to mention just a few, the subconscious mind only thinks of "I" in first person (pure self-preservation instinct), it is short-term (it works on a short-term memory), 250 times faster than the conscious mind and looks for immediate pleasure or satisfaction.
By way of example, when an American wants to buy a car, the main aspect that will subconsciously determine his decision is the fact that at that level he will feel that he confirms his own "identity" as an individual. This is why Chrysler launched the highly successful "PT Cruiser" model, with the main aim of appealing to the Americans' strong desire for identity; the car is clearly inspired by the cars of the 1940s (see book, "The Cultural Code" by Clotaire Rapaille, who was the first to touch on this subject).
Furthermore, as a result of our own research and development concerning the application of neuroscience to business strategies and our projects in leading companies, as well as contributions from the scientific community over the years, we are able to understand other vast dimensions and concepts of how the subconscious mind works and understands and how it should be used to provide objective and perceived value. These include emotions that play an important role ("We are not thinking machines that feel, rather we are feeling machines that think", Antonio Damasio), but equally important are the following: The development of distinguishing experiences by and for the subconscious mind, understanding how to act and interact in order to generate a unique experience in all channels, generate behavioural patterns that we know will enable the development of said experience and the results thereof, based on the actual understanding of how the brain works, as well as the mechanisms of perceiving said value, having a sufficient understanding of our brain's ancestral patterns (in order to align them in the generation of value and so they do not distort it, among other many aspects...
Finally we can answer our initial question: Applied neuroscience will reinvent YOUR sector and, if you plan ahead, YOUR business too, based on this new understanding of the subconscious mind of all YOUR audiences. YOU will be able to "truly" understand their needs, generate a new and innovative differentiation and make it a reality within timeframes and with an efficiency that will make YOU stand out from the rest, with all the tools that provide YOU with the knowledge and methodology that we have developed over the last five years.