The one sentence summary

Feeling is at the heart of system 1 – if you feel good about something, then it’s a good choice.


  • We think much less than we think we think.
  • System 1 dominates, makes quick judgements, and is guided by experience, emotion and pattern recognition. System 2 is the lazy policeman – good for calculation and rational thinking, but mostly a rubber stamp for System 1. So you should design your marketing for System 1.
  • Aim for fluent innovation. Fluency means something is easy to recognise and understand. This should be 80% familiar so that customers feel comfortable accepting it, and 20% new to make it appealing.
  • When it comes to advertising, the more people feel, the more they buy. Emotional ads are far more likely to lead to long-term profitable growth. Seduction beats persuasion every time.
  • It therefore pays to work out how to use the seven basic emotions described by Paul Ekman: surprise, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, contempt and happiness. Also beware neutrality, where people feel nothing at all.
  • Brands should aim to achieve the 3 Fs:

Fame (readily come to mind)

Feeling (feel good)

Fluency (be recognisable)

  • At the point of purchase, stopping power just encourages caution and lower sales. A fluent and positive experience makes buying decisions easy and instinctive.
  • Fluent devices in advertising are characters (humans or creatures) used as the primary vehicle for drama in more than one ad, and a creative conceit such as a slogan that is repeated frequently.


  • “The answer to a simple question – how do I feel about it? – is an excellent proxy for the answer to a far more complex question – what do I think about it?” Daniel Kahneman
  • Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt – it breeds contentment.
  • Your buyers mostly buy other brands and occasionally buy yours. Focus on new buyers because loyalty comes for free.


  • Students of behavioural economics will have seen most of this before, but if not it’s good to have it all in one place.