POSTED BY: Lorna Ryan McKeon

Where the heart is

30th Apr, 2018

Human instinct isn’t always given the credit it deserves. All animals use their natural instincts to survive and make decisions – we accept this as a fact. However, as humans we don’t always trust our instinct and go with our gut. But why is this? Why isn’t our instinct considered as reliable as other animals? Two recent encounters got me thinking about this to the point where I wanted to learn more…

When home in my lovely West Cork at Easter I met an amazing medical herbalist. Besides the herbs, what I took from that meeting was… “listen to your gut”. She hit the nail on the head when she said “I bet as a designer you trust your instinct” and she’s right… I do. Now, don’t get me wrong, this kicks in once armed with all the info passed on by our fabulous strategy team. Without a foundation of knowledge you simply wouldn’t have the confidence to ‘go with it’ and know it’s the ‘right’ thing!

Coincidently we recently presented design options to a client group from Cork. Once they clapped eyes on the option they subsequently chose, it became instantly apparent that there was some kind of mind-heart sync thing going on. They used the words “you just got us… how?” Result. The answer in my head, of course, was “I just knew” – it was my instinct.

At the core of both these scenarios is the subject of trusting your gut feeling. But for something that’s so natural, why don’t we do it more often? Why do we fear or distrust ourselves? I guess one answer is risk – the risk that you could make the wrong decision. That said, no decision is without risk. No matter how logical we try to be and no matter how well we plan, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong!

Trusting your gut might seem like you’re leaving your decision entirely to chance. However, the science behind it would suggest otherwise. The “gut feel” comes from a sort of second brain called the enteric nervous system. This system is composed of a variety of different neurons which line the stomach. Dependant upon the stimulus, this system will recommend feelings of excitement or stress – regardless if you’re aware of them or not.

The term “trust your gut” is so often applied to business decisions. This belief is founded in a very interesting concept – “The Rules of Attraction”. According to this universal system, the law of attraction states that “like” energy attracts “like”. This means that if you put a specific feeling out into the world, you should get it back. In other words, if you invest energy and gut feel into developing a sense of joy and satisfaction around your brand, then you increase your chances that that’s what your customers will feel when they interact with it.

As brand owners, it’s important to give your intuition a chance and trust it when it feels right. With that in mind, you’ll find four key points below that will help you engage your gut feeling and let it guide you to make great decisions in building your brand.

1. Keep your vision in mind

When making decisions about your brand, it’s crucial to ensure that every element of your design and personality is consistent with your vision statement. Your vision is your purpose, and your “why” – always stay true to this.

2. Combine feelings with facts

Combining instinct with facts and knowledge can give you a real edge when it comes to brand decision making. Don’t rely too heavily on one of the other – a balance of both will give provide a more holistic approach.

3. Always remember your target audience

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you should always be aligning your instinctive decisions to the needs and expectations of your customer. After all, the choices that you make in branding, marketing and business development are all intended to improve your relationship with the client.

4. Don’t be too emotional

Companies use emotion in a host of different ways, and the way your customer feels has a huge impact on the decisions you should make and the role gut feel has to play. To best utilise gut feel, it’s important to ensure your brand does not become too laser focused on a specific emotion. Instead, create a rich framework of subconscious associations that give customers a “good” overall feeling about the brand.

Building your brand can be an exciting experience – each element you choose is emotionally powerful. While trusting your gut feeling is important in guiding these decisions, you also need to think about how your customers feel too… we get a buzz from helping people to do this everyday!

Here’s some beautiful illustrations that won my heart over…
by Irish Illustrator Sally Caulwell


Lorna Ryan McKeon, Senior Brand Designer

Lorna brings a flair for intellectual instinctual design with her! A remarkable sense of colour and intuitive eye for balance and space make her a natural designer, and her exquisite concepts serve to bolster and enrich the brands she works with. Many of our clients at Neworld, including Adare Manor, Clontarf Castle and Castleknock Hotel, have benefited from her attention and genuine love of what she does.