The Neuroscience of brainpower: Alief, the Enclothed Cognition

Once the fashion entrepreneurs have decided on how they intend to use their personal brand, the next step involves them deciding what values they intend to infuse into their garments in order to tap into their customer’s Aliefs. An Alief is a philosophical term for an automatic or habitual belief-like attitude. Maurice uses a personal example of his experience riding a Harley Davidson in order to demonstrate the powerful effects of Aliefs to the entrepreneurs. “When I was on the bike I felt indestructible, like no one could mess with me on this bike,” says Maurice. Just like the motorcycle brand Harley Davidson, clothing brands also have the potential to trigger powerful Aliefs. A prime example a clothing Alief is known as Enclothed Cognition. This term refers to the systematic influence that clothes can have on the wearers’ psychological processes. According to Maurice, “Every colour, pattern and fabric has energy that interferes with the body.” He encourages the entrepreneurs to use these clothing elements in order to create values that cause customers to ‘imagine tomorrow today’. When a customer sees a garment, they should instantaneously be imagining future situations or events where they can wear that garment.

According to Maurice, many new businesses close down because their brands fail to stir up Aliefs in their customers. Aliefs are essential to clothing brands as they allow businesses to move over from system 1 to system 2 within a customer’s mind. System 1 and System 2 are automated brain responses. System 1 refers to a fast automated part of the brain one cannot turn off. It works highly efficiently and stores information that an individual confronts often. This part of the brain uses up no cognitive load or ‘brain energy’ as its responses to problems are habituated and effortless such as answering a simple 2 times table question. An example of system 1 being utilized in the clothing industry would be a customer’s automated response to look at Zara for a stylish work wear outfit because their brain automatically associates that brand with the desired style they are searching for. On the other hand, system 2 requires the brain to pour out energy in order to solve problems. This response is slower, more methodical and requires effort. According to Maurice, all unknown clothing brands start out in system 2.

It is paramount that entrepreneurs work towards moving their business brands out of system 2 and into system 1. “Do not think people are going to move to system 2 just to support your brand. No one wants to go to system 2 and spend unnecessary energy, you have to have a damn good reason,” says Maurice. According to Maurice, creating justification is the easiest and most efficient way in moving your brand into system 1 as deep justification has the power to cause the brain to alter itself and create new wiring within a customer’s mind that is beneficial for your brand. This deep justification is created through using values and is essential to the success of a business, because according to Maurice, “People currently have a lot of stress in their lives so they go to what they know so they don’t have to expend energy.” However, when one’s brand triggers the highest values in the formula of your customer’s lives, they will skip the brands they know, drive further and even pay more just to own your brand. Therefore, when an entrepreneur’s business brand creates the following formula in a customer’s mind, which is customer plus the brand equals an Alief moment, they have successfully achieved in utilizing values in order to move their brand from system 2 to system 1.

‘The Neuroscience of Brainpower’ taught the Threads’ fashion entrepreneurs that not only do their personal reputations influence their businesses’ brands, but that they also possess the capacity to use their reputations to create value infused garments in order to attract loyal customers. By informing the entrepreneurs to the automated responses of customers shopping within the fashion industry, Maurice made it clear to them that starting a new business and turning it into a well-known and sought-after brand is no easy task. However, the Threads’ entrepreneurs left the discussion confidently as they now have Maurice’s advice of creating ‘deep justification’, something all entrepreneurs should strive to create within their businesses. 
A South African girl who has a passion for informing and connecting others to information that aims to better the readers lives.