—Mike McMillan, Chief Creative Officer, Introworks

I’m passionate about differentiation. Why? Because in this automated, hypercompetitive and rapidly evolving world we live in, commoditization is the norm. It has become imperative to differentiate how we communicate what we offer and/or differentiate the offer altogether. This first entry in a series on the subject explores how our own physiology is the important underpinning to effective, differentiated communication.

Meaningful, impactful and differentiated communication is important to shift perception and drive revenue. That said, few people talk about the role of human physiology in achieving it. Truth is, there is an order and priority to how people process information that is valuable to understand. Our body parts, indeed, are critical in determining what we like and why we buy. Here are a few anatomical facts to consider:

We have three brains. Human beings actually have three brains: the sensory, the emotional and the rational. In terms of evolution, the sensory brain is the oldest, followed by the emotional brain. The rational brain is a far more recent development. As author Dan Hill explains, the emotional brain sends ten times the information to the rational brain than the rational brain sends to the emotional brain — a “trade imbalance ” that results in the emotions having 10 times more influence in decision-making. It’s no wonder, then, that people feel before they think and that 95% of all decisions are made intuitively — with the gut — and then justified rationally. Certainly, logic has an uphill battle to overcome what the emotional brain has largely decided, underscoring the need to hit an emotional chord with your audiences (even those who self-identify as being logical such as surgeons, engineers, lawyers and accountants.)

Seeing is believing. Don’t overlook the eye. Its role in the synthesis of information and subconscious interpretation of that information is astounding. Stop for a moment. Using all of your senses, take in the scene around you. There is a tremendous amount of information pouring in. According to David McCandless, the majority of it—80%— is visual. Exquisitely sensitive to variations in color, shape and pattern, the eye creates impressions that inform and direct the conscious thinking and decision-making process. And it does it fast. When we compare our five senses to technology, speed distinctions become more apparent. Far faster than the rest, our sense of sight has the bandwidth of a computer network. Touch comes in second, at the speed of a USB key. Hearing and smell are three and four, with throughput of a hard disk. Taste is five, barely able to power a pocket calculator.

If the emotional brain is the key to decision-making, the eye is the all-important portal that informs it. So, communicate accordingly. It can increase the odds of successful communication.