Do you remember that email that was circulated a while back about reading words with jumbled letters?

It said that, according to a researcher at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter what order the middle letters in a word are in, the only important thing is that the first and last letter are in the right place.

The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

While the claim is a little dubious (what about things like context, simplicity, and the fact that many of the function words aren’t even jumbled), our ability to read that sentence does shine a light on

the power of our minds.

Or, more specifically, the power of expectation.

Let me explain…

If the brain were to start from scratch in every situation, it would never cope with the complicated surroundings of every day life. Because of this, it must build on what it has seen before and create shortcuts.

These shortcuts are predictions based on experience—in other words ‘expectation’—and influence the decisions we make every day.

Take the Pepsi/Coke rivalry, for example. I’m sure many of you remember, or have at least heard of, the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ ads, which claimed that in a blind taste test people preferred Pepsi to Coke.

Coke retaliated with ads that said when consumers could see which drink they were tasting, they preferred Coke.

A group of neuroscientists, curious to understand why this was the case, conducted an experiment to see if there was any difference in how the brain reacted in the two situations.

And their findings were fascinating…

In a blind taste test, the part of the brain associated with emotional connection (the VMPCF) was stimulated.

After being shown which drink was being tasted, however, scans revealed that (as well as the VMPCF) an area of the brain involved in functions like working memory, associations and ideas was activated… A part of the brain connected to the pleasure center. 

This reaction was much stronger when Coke was being tasted.

How is this possible? What advantage could Coke possibly have over Pepsi?

Well, the participants’ expectation of Coke activated higher-order brain mechanisms than Pepsi’s, which means they genuinely enjoyed the taste more.   

This is where marketing comes in. Marketing exists to heighten expectation—to encourage positive shortcuts to be built about a brand.

Coke’s marketing had clearly won out over Pepsi’s, and as a result they were more popular when a consumer knew which brand they were about to taste (a fairly likely scenario when deciding which drink to purchase in a store, I might add).

My point is, when expectation can genuinely enhance the enjoyment of a product/service, can you really afford not to use that to your advantage?

And, more importantly, if bad marketing might forge negative expectations of your firm, can you risk getting it wrong?

Here at JTN, we understand the importance of getting your marketing right. We specialize in getting a clear message out to your ideal audience in order to generate the kind of trust and loyalty that encourages them to engage with your brand simply because of who you are.

If you’d like to chat about how we can help you forge the right expectations of your firm, get in touch.

We’ll wrok wtih you to gvie yuor frim the ‘Coke’ adnvtagae.