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Which wing of an airplane is the most important?


It’s the same with information and intuition.


This is true, of course, not just in marketing and branding, but in most areas of life.


Consider the pro football coach whose staff has reviewed hours of game film of the opposing team, only to the coach make a counter-intuitive decision when calling a play on the field.


Similar observations can be made in bakeries, research labs, police investigations, and political campaigns. The data is crucial, but so is good judgment.


Malcom Gladwell describes some of what might be going on in this process in his book Blink. But his most recent book, Outliers, suggests that expertise/success comes after 10,000 hours of involvement in any given endeavor.


Intuition is thus not some magical gift. It is the result of years of good and bad decisions, whose cumulative weight lends confidence and success in decision-making. An old friend of mine use to say, "Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment."


The way I’ve approached it with many of the gifted young people here at The Creative Alliance is that it’s OK to make mistakes. Just don’t make them twice. (One of the corollaries to this is reminding them that they have yet to make a single mistake that I haven’t already made.)


For most marketers, pressed especially hard to make the "right" decision in a brutal economy, it will take a perfect blend of information and intuition. Experience shows that when information and intuition are at a logjam, for most people, intuition wins. Most of the CEOs we work with have a sixth sense of timing and proportion that I’ve learned to respect as we help them reach their business objectives.


The point is to make sure both wings of the airplane are securely fastened…that information and intuition are both getting their proper respect. Then you really get the chance to fly.