When we have key decisions to make, we look outside for the answer.
We turn to Google, we read books, we ask our friends, we consult experts. Rightly so, we use information to try and make well-informed and smart decisions, grounded in reality.
When actually, we are being intoxicated by multiple sources and levels of information, making it difficult to evaluate what’s real and most pertinent.
When we base our decisions solely on data and neglect to consult the most important authority of all – our intuition – we may not make the right decisions. We may reduce ourselves to the normal and limit our ability to make bold moves.
What sets intuition apart?
Intuition is this intrinsic ability to know instinctively, without conscious thinking, if something feels right or wrong. And that, nothing can take it away from us. Even when everything around us goes wrong.
That is what Nike successfully did in its latest commercial Nike – You Can’t Stop Us that portrays a message of progress and unity in the face of a pandemic that has created more divisions than ever before.
The brand has shown that we can overcome any obstacles when we pull ourselves together in the face of adversity. And that type of bold move will help Nike be an intuitive brand of choice next time we shop for sneakers or sports attire.
Like Nike, integrating intuition into your brand strategy is necessary to tell a unique, memorable, and appealing story – your story.
Your ambition should be to continually try and become an intuitive brand of choice with a convincing story.
For the brands we love, telling such stories is easy because they have this intimate understanding of people and the situation they live in, and the ability to deliver an experience that taps into our instincts, making their stories seem entirely right for us.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should make strategic decisions for your brand based solely on intuition. In my work as a brand strategy advisor, I found that the best brand work happens when both the strategic AND intuitive thinking are recognized.
How to have a strategic and emotional framework to brand strategy?
Consider answering these questions in your strategy to create a unique brand experience:
- What is the context in which we live and operate our business?
- What is the one thing that we want people to know when they first experience our brand?
- What is the first impression that people should have about our brand?
- What emotions do we want people to feel after experiencing our brand?
- How can we serve them in a way that helps them cultivate this feeling?
- How can we create a strong, memorable emotional experience for them?
- Is this a cohesive experience across the board? If not, how could we make it more unified?
Don’t overlook this: We are more likely to remember how an experience has affected us emotionally rather than why it did. Emotions remain with us long after the experience is over.
For our clients, a brand or communication strategy that has been intuitively and intelligently designed has proven to be more differentiated and impactful.
Brand strategy is where rational meets emotional, at the intuition level
Branding is a mind and heart game. It also involves the intuitive side – that ‘gut feeling’ or ‘light bulb moment’ we may say.
As a brand strategy consultant, I help entrepreneurs and businesses get clarity on their purpose and collaborate with them to define their identity, voice, and message that is fully aligned with their vision.
Branding is a creative discipline where emotions and instincts are key to understanding how to convey a compelling message and tell an engaging story. The right data should guide and inform, but it becomes less relevant when it comes to creating a transformative brand strategy.
What should be the relationship between information and intuition?
It’s crucial to pay attention to the signals you receive from the market, its people, and your current practices to build business intelligence.
But it depends on you to make the right decisions for your brand. There is an obvious connection between intelligence and intuition:
Intelligence is the ability to spot patterns, acquire knowledge, and develop skills.
Intuition is a fine, deep intelligence, so attuned to knowledge that it can determine subtle nuances of information.
Intuition is a highly refined intelligence that is based on experience and expertise.
Using too much research and data to inform the brand story can kill originality. On the flip side, going only with your gut feeling and not understanding the market and the context can lead to a story that will not be well received.
We must learn to create brands that can tap into a deep intelligence of the market and the situation, and find the right balance between information and intuition, to transcend the normal and create the new.
Intuition is the key to crafting a brand that is uniquely ‘you’
Intuition is the most important authority of all. It is where the magic happens. That place of genius can provide the knowledge you need to make the right decisions. This is true for all people. If you’re not in touch with your intuition, you better learn to get in touch with it so you can access this deep intelligence.
Your brand must be based on what your intuition tells you about the essence of your entire being and reason for existence.
This is how you will create a brand that is uniquely YOU and a story that tells WHY you are here, WHO you are authentically, and WHAT sets you apart. Do so with clarity, uniqueness, and consistency, and your brand will be recognizable, and, more importantly, totally unforgettable.
We need to trust our instincts more
We are being inundated with content and bombarded with information. Learning to engage and trust our intuition is vital. Otherwise, we risk getting inculcated by a culture of the same and will end up reproducing other people’s ideas.
We are more likely to remember how an experience has affected us emotionally rather than why it did.
I would always consult experts or information from the sources that I trust and then use my intuition to make my own decisions.
Indeed, the preferred course of action is to use reliable data and conduct research as a tool to inspire, strengthen, and validate our instincts when devising brand and communication strategies. But we have to be careful about what information we use, how we obtain it, how we interpret it, and be sure to pull the most meaningful insights that will allow us to create resonating work.
To create a brand story that data can’t tell, we must learn to cultivate, develop, and trust our creative instincts and find the right balance between information and intuition.
Ultimately, to innovate and break new ground, we need to move beyond the obvious and into the intuitive, constructing space for new ideas to flourish.
To innovate, we must lead with intuition but can’t dismiss information.
Cover image source: Ran Berkovich