Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of teaching my first workshop at In Good Company (an amazing coworking space for any women here in NYC) about digging into the guts of several entrepreneurs’ brands to unearth their most powerful business message: their why story.

There are several reasons why our business’s why story—the purpose, belief or experience that led us to do the work we do—connects us to our clients, but the most powerful reason is a neuroscience nugget I shared during the workshop.

Eyeballs popped out of heads when I explained it.

So I thought it would be fun to share it with you today.


Before I do, full disclosure: I am not a neuroscientist or psychologist. But I am a human behavior-obsessed communications and marketing pro who understands the implications of this tidbit, so here you go:

We have two areas of our brains: the neocortex and the limbic.

The neocortex is responsible for our rational and analytical thought. It’s also responsible for language. Our limbic brain is responsible for all of our feelings. Turns out, it’s also responsible for our decision making.

Which means: 

We don’t make decisions with the rational or analytical part of brain. We make decisions with the feeling part of our brain.

And then, we use the rational and analytical facts we have about the decision to back up the decision we just made. Since the rational and analytical part of our brain is also where we produce language, we usually describe why we made a decision based on rational, analytical pieces of information.

When really, we had a feeling and went with it.

So many of the traditional marketing lessons and best practices we come across appeal to the neocortex--to our rational, analytical brain.

It’s why I believe there’s such a disconnect between how most businesses market themselves and how humans (like me and you!) want to be marketed to.

When really, we should be spending our time (and $$!) on better understanding how people want to FEEL when they experience our brand.

We'll talk more about how to connect with those people's feelings in posts to come.

To gut feelings...