Getting it in the gut: the irrational power of emotion

Ben Brill By Ben Brill

Funny lot, us humans.

We tell ourselves that we’re rational, calculating – tie ourselves in knots trying to explain the decisions we’re making.

But most of the time, we’ve not got the first idea what we’re doing.

In his book, Straw Dogs, the philosopher John Gray says that neuroscientists now think that most of the decisions we think of as rational are actually unconscious.

It’s only after the event that we try to find a way to explain them.

But if people don’t know what they’re doing, how do we get them to do what we want?

Stop thinking about thinking

Because we’re all so immersed in our sector, it can sometimes be difficult to see the wood for the trees.

We become hardened to the human stories that we tell. When we see them day in, day out, it’s no surprise.

So we miss the stuff that makes our brands special and fall back on the rational arguments we make in meetings.

Or we start talking in practiced phrases that people don’t actually use in real life - ‘research breakthrough’, ‘right to thrive’ or ‘unlock potential’.

And we spend so much time thinking about thinking that we forget about feelings – the pain, the hope and the joy.

That’s the stuff that connects people. The stuff that happens before thought. The stuff that gets them in the gut.

The stuff that has them acting before they’ve even worked out why.

Ben Brill

Ben Brill

Creative Director

Ben came to us from Save the Children, where he was the creative powerhouse behind some of their best-known campaigns. Our story and strategy-led work brought him agency side, and he’s consistently wowed clients with impressive conceptual work. Read more about Ben on our blog.