If we nourish our subconscious we will nourish our customers

Our subconscious brain is being fed information whether we like it or not. Sometimes we nourish it intentionally with research, books, articles, or documentaries, but most of the time it’s being fed behind the scenes.

This behind-the-scenes feeding happens by our brain’s surveying and categorizing of information (stimuli) in our environment. Stimuli can get categorized into what our brain perceives as safe or unsafe, then it automates patterns for easy retrieval in order to conserve energy.

A quick example of this is a single person speaking to a stranger they are attracted to. Our subconscious brain has categorized this stranger (stimuli) as someone who is potentially unsafe and this unsafe categorization is established via neural connections in our brain.

This neural connection then triggers a cascade of neurotransmitters, which then triggers an associated feeling like anxiety and stress. The more we repeat these patterns the more our brain will automate them (aka conserve energy).

The reverse is also true.

This is why, in the 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss challenges readers, single and not single, to approach attractive strangers and ask them for their phone number.

By creating new patterns, we can establish new neural connections (aka neuroplasticity) that will associate an attractive stranger to feelings other than anxiety or stress.

The moral of this story is that our subconscious needs nourished but before that’s possible we have to understand how it’s being fed.

How do we then nourish our customers?

We have to seek out ways to nourish instead of feed. To nourish our customers it requires us to nourish our decision-making. To nourish our decision-making it requires us to nourish the information that our decisions are based from.

When we make decisions, our brain is at the mercy of its accessible information.

How do we nourish this accessible information?

All the way up to our decision-making moment, we have to nourish our accessible information (our subconscious). We should nourish this with informational depth about the thing we are making decisions for (our customers), and breadth about various topics which enable us to make creative combinations (aka connecting the dots).

As mentioned earlier, in order to nourish, we have to understand how we are being fed.

This feeding is most obvious when we understand the availability heuristic and the mere-exposure effect. The availability heuristic is the ease with which a particular thought can be brought to mind, and it is driven purely by what information our brain has access to. The mere-exposure effect is how people tend to develop a preference for things they are more familiar with. Repeated exposure increases familiarity.

Similar to the availability heuristic is the recency effect which shows that our brains more easily retrieve information that was the first, or most recent, we learned of.

The two best examples of these feeding mechanisms are propaganda and subliminal messaging.

Therefore, when we are making decisions on behalf of our customers, we have to prepare by nourishing our subconscious with information relevant to them— their behavior, needs, pain points, and context.

And, just as important is to remove irrelevant information. Instead of spending 2 hours and 6 minutes a day feeding our brain with entertainment, we could be nourishing it with the breadth and depth discussed before. Instead of basing our decision-making off of heuristics, like past experiences and “best practices”, we can instead use first principles thinking.

By approaching our accessible information with nourishment, it will allow us to benefit from things like the availability heuristic, the mere-exposure effect, and the recency effect.

Now, instead of viewing these as negative, they can be used positively.

What if we shifted our perspective on propaganda and subliminal messaging and used them to our advantage — as nourishment?

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”
― Hippocrates, ~340 BC

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan