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Impulse Branding: Instinctively Good

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Impulse is defined (in my parlance) as a desire (seemingly involuntary) that comes out of nowhere. Things like ziplining, buying lottery tickets, and dying your hair blue. There’s an endorphin rush that accompanies doing things impulsively.

Impulses (and endorphins) encourage risk.

Making rash investments. Booking flights halfway around the world. It doesn’t matter that you received advice from a broker you barely know. A 3am ad for an airline sparked your motivation to travel. You are moved to do these even if they bring you debt. Or money stress. No worries because it feels great right then and there.

Impulses accelerate decisions and their subsequent actions.

impulse branding vs instinct brandingHere’s the rub: digital media is like catnip to impulses. Suddenly, thoughts and ideas can be expressed and shared at a speed that still takes most of us by surprise. Once done, it can’t be undone. Figuratively and not literally. While you can delete a Facebook wall post and take down a clip on a YouTube channel, chances are people saw it and reacted before your removed it. The ideas, concepts, videos, audio clips placed accidentally (impulsively) that aren’t “on brand” can do more damage than most anything you do with intention.

When something strikes you immediately as being great – if it affects your brand and your business – pause. And then publish.


Various definitions of the word “instinct” exist, including several that include a mention of “impulse.”  What I’m referring to here are natural aptitude and intuitive power. Whether or not you are blessed with a strong long term memory, you can recognize the patterns in your life. You note what conduct has yielded good results and which behaviors have led to failures. This is valuable for social things, as well as for your brand and your business.

Your experiences – good and bad – help to program you to feel when something fits with your character, aligns with your goals, and frankly, clicks with your personality. And when something does not fit any of those things. When you run your own business, you may be prone to set down your feelings and depend upon what you think. Both are imperative.

This isn’t to say that your instinct acts as a Krazy Glued padlock on some amazing opportunities.

What it could be saying to you is, “Ask a question,” or “Seek clarity” before doing anything.

You created your brand. You are developing your brand. It and you(!) are worth the review of what you’ve done that has worked, along with what you have done that hasn’t worked.

In brief, our impulses and our instincts can partner to take us where we want ourselves and our brands to go. They balance each other. And they need each other. Apply them together and be unstoppable.



About Kate Harvie

Kate Harvie is a highly regarded brand strategist, educator, and leader. She writes for and is the founder of Manufactured Drama, a 9-year old brand consultancy. Kate makes her home in NYC.