Updated: Dec 4, 2018
“The affect heuristic is an instance of substitution, in which the answer to an easy question (How do I feel about it?) serves as an answer to a much harder question (How do I think about it?).” (Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman)
Politics aside, I was confused when Donald Trump won the election, following a brutal campaign (on both sides) at the end of which a large majority of experts and polls predicted his loss. Two years later, we have people on both sides pointing fingers and shouting.
As someone who is incredibly passionate about the way people communicate and has worked with companies of all shapes and sizes to tweak and tailor messages for their unique audiences, I needed to understand how people could experience the exact same messages so differently.
I found that while there are varied reasons – from personal biases and filters to emotional vs. rational reactions to a message – the truth is that no two people experience a message exactly the same. Yet, we continue to repeat the broken way we communicate: pushing one message through the same channels at the same moment. We don’t stop to think whether the person delivering the message is ideally positioned for that message or how it might be interpreted by the individual audience member. People are less rational – and more emotional – than most like to admit.
It was my lightbulb moment. We continue to create messages we think will resonate with the people for whom that message is intended, without stopping to think about the individuals who will be interpreting it.
Since the way people affect change in this world is to make it, I am launching Heurisay. I want to work with leaders and companies to identify the obstacles that stand in the way of their desired results, and develop communications strategies that are focused on the way their audience(s) experience their message.
For some, that may be a traditional public relations program as they look to establish themselves as an industry thought leader. For others, it could be designing a customer relations program that aims to build better and longer-lasting relationships and loyalty. And, for some, it may be focused internally to improve employee engagement, facilitate a structure change or revitalize employees’ experience with the company’s brand.
Ultimately, it’s about helping companies get out of the rut of missed and misinterpreted messages and increasing the instances of success. It’s about happier and more fluid employees, and more loyal and connected customers. It’s about communicating for intended (and unintended) audiences, and purposefully crafting messages – and leveraging the right channels – that address them both.
Whether you voted for him or not, Donald Trump delivered a message to an audience he knew would receive it. They felt a certain way, and acted accordingly. What happened during the 2016 campaign and election can be found at the intersection of communications and psychology/human behavior.
And if we as people and companies want to build and sustain successful relationships, we all need to live (or at least work) there.
I am excited for this journey ahead, and hope that I will find you along the way.