Which matters more: what a reader feels or thinks after seeing an ad?

Not all creative brief templates are created equal.

Some ask the question, "What do we want the target audience to think after seeing the communication?" 

Some ask, "What do we want the target audience to feel after seeing the communication?"

Some ask a combination of both, think and feel. Some don't bother asking either question, which is a mistake if you ask me.

My bias is toward what we want a reader (or viewer or listener) to feel.

Why? What's the difference? And what relevance do the answers have to writing an inspired creative brief?

If you've worked in advertising for at least five minutes, you know that people connect to brands through...what?

Their emotions.

And there's now tons of research—scientific and business—that substantiates what advertising pros have known for years.

Consumers make their decisions about a brand based on how they react to it with their hearts, and they confirm their decisions with their brains.

I spent a number of years working on luxury automotive accounts so I know that the slick and very expensive collateral materials that luxury car companies produce every year play a very important role. After the sale.

I learned that these materials reinforce the purchase decision rather than motivate the consumer to purchase. 

(I can't speak to the 16-year-old who dreams about that Porsche and drools over the slick brochure because that's all he can get his hands on, but you get my point. On the day when he can truly afford it, you know his decision will be based on how he feels about the car when he's sitting in one, not looking at pictures of it in a brochure, right?)

So while there's clearly no harm in writing a creative brief that answers the question about what we want our target audience to think after seeing the ad, what that consumer feels will clearly have more impact on a purchase decision.

Ergo, it makes sense, as a brief writer, to make sure you nail what the appropriate emotion should be for your brand.

Which just goes back to what I had to say about words: take your time and get it right. If you're writing the creative brief, that makes you the resident brand guardian. Give yourself credit for knowing it better than anyone else.

Remember the line by Euripides I shared in last week's post, "A bad beginning makes a bad ending"?

A friend and mentor wrote to me (thanks Hils!) with her astute translation: 

"Garbage in, garbage out."

I know, that's blunt. But this is important.