Home » Is There a Buy Button Inside the Brain: Patrick Renvoise at TEDxBend (Transcript)

Is There a Buy Button Inside the Brain: Patrick Renvoise at TEDxBend (Transcript)

Patrick Renvoise

Here is the full transcript of author, a co-founder and Chief Neuromarketing Officer at SalesBrain, Patrick Renvoise’s TEDx Talk: Is There a Buy Button Inside the Brain at TEDxBend conference. This event occurred on April 6, 2013.

Patrick Renvoise – Co-founder and Chief Neuromarketing Officer at SalesBrain

I am a French nerd, and I have two passions in life, so I hope I can communicate this. I am passionate about the brain, and I’m passionate about marketing.

So the subject that I’d like to talk to you about today is: Neuromarketing. I became a neuromarketer twelve years ago, and in neuromarketing you have “neuro,” which means “the brain” and “marketing” as in: “I’m going to try to sell you something that maybe you don’t even need.” I believe it’s important for you so you can protect yourself against people trying to sell you something you don’t really need.

But as you’ll see, there’s an application to this, which, if each and every one of us really understood our reptilian nature, — I’m going to talk about the reptilian brain — if each and every one of us could understand our reptilian nature, we could change the world.

So what’s the definition of neuromarketing? Neuromarketing is the science of human decision, and it’s about using neurometrics, biometrics, and psychometrics to understand our behavior.

All right, don’t worry you’ll be able to understand the rest of my talk, because I’ll make this very clear: it’s all about understanding our brains, and understanding that maybe there is something that looks like a ‘buy’ button inside the brain.

Now, neuromarketing started because marketing does not work. Why? Well, here’s what we do in traditional marketing. In traditional marketing, we take our consumers, we take our customers, and we ask them: “What do you want?” And based on their responses, we’ll build a product, we’ll build a strategy to sell that product.

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But do you know what is the far more problem with this approach? Guess what? Guess what? They don’t know what they want! So, it doesn’t work. Right?

So instead, in neuromarketing what we’re going to do is this: We’re going to ask them, “What do you want?” but we’re not going to trust their answers, because we know they don’t know. Instead, we’re going to look at various physiological changes that happen in their body, when we ask them this.

So there’re various techniques that are being used. One of them is called facial coding. We’re going to measure the emotion that is being displayed on their face, by the 60 muscles that control our faces. We’ll be using an eye tracking to figure out exactly where they’re looking at in an image. We’re using voice analysis, well, but we’re not going to pay attention to the words they say, but we’re going to pay attention to their tone of voice.

Then we’re going to be using the old lie-detector. It’s called the skin conductance test, where we measure the heart-rate, the blood pressure, and our electricity flows between fingers. Then we are going also to use an EEG, or electroencephalogram, to measure the small currents on top of our skulls.

And then another technique is called the MRI, with that we measure the amount of oxygen that’s being consumed by the brain in various regions of the brain. So that’s what people do in neuromarketing. I happened to be an expert in applied neuromarketing.

So what do we do in applied neuromarketing? We look at how neuroscientists tell us about how certain stimulus provide a certain response, and can you guess what response we’re trying to get from consumers? [Audience: Buy Patrick]

Yes, we want them to say “Yes” or “Buy”. Right. So today is the first day where I address consumers, because normally companies hire me to be on the other side of the fence. So I’m going to reveal to you their secrets. Is that good enough? So let me give you an executive summary of what we know about the brain.

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What we know about the brain is that, you don’t have a single self. You have three selves. First you have your neocortex, or your new brain, and that’s the rational self. Now if you take my model here, this is the neocortex. It’s the outside, the wrinkly pinky part of the brain.

But then deeper inside you have another self which is your emotional self. Which tends to be located here in what’s called the middle brain. But deep down, further below in the brain, is your reptilian brain, and that’s your instinctual self. And here’s what neuroscientists have discovered over the years. Is that, our instinctual self, has a greater impact on our final decision than the rational us, or even the emotional us.

So what should we do with this? Well, we should listen to those people that are the experts. So here’s what one of them says, his name is doctor Rapaille, he’s a neuroanthropologist, and he says, “The reptilian always win!” And then this guy who teaches neuroscience at NYU says, “The amygdala,” which is part of the reptilian brain, “has more influence on the cortex than the cortex has on the amygdala”

And then this guy who won the 2002 Economy Nobel Prize said, “Although system 2,” which is the neocortex, “believes itself to be where the action is, the automatic system 1,” the reptilian brain, “is the hero of the book most people choices correspond to the predilection of system 1.”

So what I am here to tell you is that, we are reptiles. Not that we didn’t know it. Since, you know, Darwin, we’ve learned about this, but, people use this against us to sell us stuff we don’t need!

So let’s look at the difference between you new brain and your reptilian brain. So these are some of the characteristics of your new brain, let’s contrast these with what happens in your reptilian brain.

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First of all, your reptilian brain is very old, it’s 5 million years old as opposed to only 3 to 4 for the neocortex. The reptilian brain is very fast but it’s very limited. Because I didn’t want to use another “S” word. It’s kind of stupid. Your reptilian brain doesn’t have any notion of past or future, it only lives in the present. It’s the brain that is always on.

So that if there is bear that enters the caves you can wake up. It’s a brain that is effortless. You don’t have to think about it when you ride your bicycle. You know you keep you balance. It’s a brain that is unconscious, you don’t have to think about it. Your reptilian brain controls your digestion, your blood pressure, your heart rhythm, et cetera. And then finally, it’s a brain that is completely uncontrollable.

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