I feel then I think. And afterwards I believe.

This the fundamental marketing cycle. This is why branding is possible. Imagine a shoe or glass rectangle. So what, right? Now imagine that same shoe with a swoosh and that same glass rectangle with an apple engraved on it. Now you’re excited (or dismayed I suppose, depending on your brand persuasion).

Based on a thousand indicators (including brand, context, tone of messaging, etc.) we develop an immediate emotional response to each marketing piece we see. It could be boredom, excitement, or disgust, but it’s still an emotional response. That emotional response leads us to reject, ignore, or pursue information about the product or idea we’re being sold. And of course after we’ve reached a conclusion (whether by using the product/service, or by using deductive reasoning), we form a belief about the product, service or brand.

So when I’m approaching a communication piece, whether it’s a website, flyer, or speech, I keep two objectives in mind: inform and excite.

While “inform” is listed first, it’s merely because with absolutely NO information, people tend to just feel confused—there’s no framework on which to hang their emotions. So assuming there’s a foundation of information, my primary goal is to excite my audience.

Excitement is great. It’s anticipatory, positive, and it’s usually actionable and contagious.

What can you say or show to your audience to excite them? Is it “5% off” or is it a photo of someone actively relishing your product? Once you’ve won their focus and excited their emotions, are you following through with effective information?  Does the information overwhelm your audience, diffuse their excitement, or brush over necessary facts or details?

Ask yourself the three questions: How can I excite my audience? What information will catalyze that excitement into action? What beliefs do you want to develop or reinforce?

I feel then I think. And afterwards I believe.