Content creators intuitively know the importance of moving people deeply in order for their story to take hold and drive sales. Yet often times we seek input from our audience in the form of market research and ironically get side tracked from the real reasons that drive engagement. In order to really understand their preferences, cognitive science is now telling us that we must uncover their unconscious associations not their conscious analysis to get at the real roots of storytelling brilliance.
That’s partly because the brain’s emotional and rational systems can function independently, and our emotions drive our behavior. So when we ask people why they like something, they often simply don’t know. What this means for storytellers is that we must stay focused on our own stories and not just the stories the audience tells us. And we must become more in tune with our unconscious, the domain of our emotions.
The aim of my book Unconscious Branding is to help content developers with a set of “tools not rules” that distill the latest lessons of behavioral science. In the most recent of my series of articles for Fast Company, I explore the importance of identifying these hidden and sometimes-illogical associations.