06.09.17. | Emotion is logic.

On Friday morning, Adobe’s Senior Creative Director, Adam Morgan asked a room full of industry professionals an important question: do creative ideas really work better? Many of us fight for the “right-brain” approach to marketing every day, but do we know why it is the most effective?

We organize arguments, tensions and decisions in dichotomies. The right brain is at odds with the left brain. Creativity butts against science. Emotion and logic pull hard in opposite directions. Adam argues, however, that the answers to our questions are outside these binaries. We have to push the right and left together — and consider some neuroscience.

When strategists and creatives argue about what approach to advertising is more effective, we return again and again to the same question. What is more valuable: emotion or logic? Historically, humans have valued the latter. Our rational thought seems to set us apart from our animal instincts and make us human.

Science tells a different story. Adam presented study after neurological study, each reporting that the human capacity for emotion is essential to decision-making and higher-level thinking. Emotions are the massive unseen portion of rational thinking; they represent a huge quantity of decision-making, just processed sub-consciously.

So in reality, emotion is logic. It is data, it is rational, and it is powerful.

Adam discussed how this insight can be applied to creative ideation and marketing decision-making. It validates creative approaches and encourages synthesis between good strategy and good creative. I’m looking forward to reading his book, Return on Idea, and learning more about that application.

Yet this piece of neuroscience is relevant beyond the boundaries of traditional advertising and marketing. Any kind of communicator has something to learn here. In a world plagued by black/white and left/right extremes, it is important to remember the universality and reliability of emotion.

Scientists can surround their important findings with emotionally-rooted content that speaks to peoples’ values, not just their knowledge. Journalists can push beyond simple facts and dualistic perspectives when reporting on contentious and emotional situations. Activists can lean on creativity to help their messages reach new audiences.

As for me, I can continue to immerse myself in creativity as I pursue a future in strategy. If emotion is logic, then creative is strategy, and vice versa. That gives me a lot to explore.

My notes from Adam’s presentation.
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