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The marketing revolution - Connecting Behavior to Subconscious mind


Guest articles > The marketing revolution - Connecting Behavior to Subconscious mind


by: John Schinnerer, Ph.D., Director of Client Relations, Emotion Mining Company, Inc.


A scientific revolution is taking place. This revolution has to do with the exponentially increasing understanding of the human mind – the subtle yet profound influence of the subconscious mind on behavior.

Conscious awareness is merely the beginning of the journey into the mind. Neuroscientists agree the vast majority of cognitive processing takes place outside of conscious awareness. Most neuroscientists estimate between 90-95% of mental and emotional activity occur outside our conscious notice. Much of this “underground” activity is automatic and emotional. Much of this commotion is bubbling just below the level of our awareness.

So what’s the fuss? Why care about mental activity that goes on behind the scenes?

The main reason is that subconscious activity has a massive impact on our perception of the world, behaviors, buying decisions, and satisfaction with life.

For example, the price of wine influences how people perceive the same bottle of wine. When people are told the price of wine is higher, they subconsciously create the perception of a better tasting wine. The higher priced wine is perceived to have new characteristics such as improved body, taste, and aroma once the price is revealed.

Another study showed that brand recognition plays a large role at the subconscious level in influencing how we perceive objects, such as soda. Blind taste tests may show that individuals like drink A over drink B by a large percentage. However, when those same individuals can see the product packaging and brand, they prefer B. No change in the two drinks, just an awareness of the brand which subtly yet powerfully kicks the subconscious mind into motion and changes the way the taste buds perceive the drink A and drink B.

In addition, conscious self report measures such as polls, surveys and focus groups are poor predictors of consumer behavior. Self report measures are notoriously flawed in their ability to predict future behavior. The relationship between the stated intention of consumers and their actual buying behavior is low and can even be negative at times. For instance, over 60% of individuals who tested a new kitchen appliance in their home stated they were “likely” or “very likely” to purchase the appliance within three months. Nearly a year later, only 12% of those consumers had actually made the purchase. A follow up survey among those who said they were going to buy but did not discovered that those consumers could not explain the disconnect between their stated intention and their behavior.

What’s more, the subconscious mind works at lightning fast speed. It works so quickly that it can pick up information from the environment that does not even register in the conscious mind. For example, a message which appears for 30 milliseconds (below the threshold of conscious awareness) dramatically affects individuals’ behavior in the near future. An automobile manufacturer tested a new sensor system which could automatically measure the speed of the car as well as the distance of an object directly in the path of the car. When the program discovered a high probability of a crash, it flashed a message on the windshield which stated, “Brake!” During testing of the program, it was found that the ideal length of time to flash the message on the windshield was 30 milliseconds – so fast that the conscious mind was not even aware of it, but the subconscious mind was. When the message was shown for 30 milliseconds, drivers demonstrated optimum braking ability. When the message was displayed for longer periods of time (so the conscious mind could “see” it), braking performance declined in speed.

These examples are just the beginning of a revolution in marketing, advertising, branding, and improved consumer experiences.

With the birth of new imaging tools and innovative methodologies such as Emotion Mining’s patented approach to get at subconscious thoughts and feelings, the mind is rapidly beginning to reveal its secrets. Similar to exploring the deepest depths of the ocean, we are on the verge of stunning new discoveries. And, among others, marketing and branding professionals stand poised to reap the benefits.

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Dr. John Schinnerer is Director of Client Relations for Emotion Mining Company, Inc., which offers a novel, patented method to measure conscious and subconscious emotions and thoughts.

In the past, Dr. Schinnerer has served as President and Founder of Guide To Self, a company that focuses on what makes people successful in life. Dr. Schinnerer coaches executives, individuals and groups to their potential using the latest in scientifically proven interventions. Most recently, Dr. John Schinnerer hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a prime time radio show on positive psychology and emotional management, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Schinnerer started in the private sector as President of Infinet Assessment, a psychological testing company to help firms select the best applicants. Infinet was founded in 1997 to examine what competencies make individuals successful in the workplace. Infinet has worked with companies such as UPS, CSE Insurance, and Schreiber Foods.

Dr. Schinnerer wrote, “Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought,” to help individuals find happiness in life. The book was awarded the “Best Self-Help Book of 2007” by East Bay Express.  He has written articles on corporate ethics, sports psychology, and EQ in the workplace for Workspan magazine,, and Business Ethics. He has given numerous presentations, radio shows, interviews and seminars to tens of thousands of people for organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Yahoo, Microsoft, Starbucks, SHRM, NCHRA, KNEW and KDIA. Dr. Schinnerer sits on the Advisory Board for - one of the top three sites on the web for psychology.


Contributor: John Schinnerer

Published here on: 02-Mar-08

Classification: Development, Marketing, Psychology

Website: Infinet Assessment

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