Fuzzy Logic – A call for more intuitive decision making

Leah Andrew
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From Japan to Canada in 1997

During a recent conversation with my father in law, a well-known Canadian architect, he brought up the topic of fuzzy logic. It is a term he first encountered years ago when working on a project in Japan.

I was intrigued with the term. His definition was loosely: Using intuition to guide decisions. The concept of fuzzy logic stuck with me. So, after the conversation, I decided to dig deeper.

What is fuzzy logic?

According to investopedia, fuzzy logic “attempts to solve problems with an open, imprecise spectrum of data that makes it possible to obtain an array of accurate conclusions.”

Simply put, fuzzy logic is about intuition. It is about trusting that instinctive feeling you have about what is the right decision. Going with your gut.

But for many leaders, it can be uncomfortable bringing this concept into their decision making toolkit. After all, it requires imperfect data and a willingness to make decisions when the full picture isn’t always clear. And that’s why it’s not something to use lightly.

Why should marketing leaders introduce fuzzy logic into their decision making?

As organizations continue to navigate uncertain waters, and strive to undergo major transformation initiatives, whether it’s digital, cultural and operational, I believe an ability to bravely use fuzzy logic will be critical.

But let’s be clear. I am not advocating that marketing leaders rely solely on this. Instead, what I am advocating for is that leaders ensure there are a diversity of perspectives around the table, and that they have a willingness to trust their ‘gut’, especially if the numbers don’t back it but they know it’s the right thing to do. (I think of the recent social justice movement where some brands struggled to know how or if to respond, when there was never really a question of “if”, only “how” and “when”.)

In fact, a recent Marketing Profs infographic confirms that data doesn’t always drive marketing decisions. Furthermore, we are seeing marketers move towards more empathy, purpose and transparency during this global pandemic. For me, this all points to using more fuzzy logic.

Not convinced yet? Here are three reasons I believe fuzzy logic is important for all lead

Strengthens empathy

Intuition is a critical skill that builds our ability to sense the world around us, and those we interact with. In short, it makes us more human. And in my opinion, the world needs more humanity right now. That means having a sense of collaboration, and a willingness to put the greater good before the individual.

Fosters creativity

Fuzzy logic helps marketers let go of preconceived notions and seek out abstract connections (Link to post on boosting creativity). This can be especially important when we’re trying to brainstorm the next new idea, strategy or content piece.

Builds courage

Perhaps most importantly, this concept forces marketers to bravely stand up and say “I think this is the right thing to do, and so I’m going to trust my gut, even if it feels uncomfortable and maybe isn’t what the majority is thinking or saying.”

"Strong people stand up for themselves. Stronger people stand up for others."

Finding the balance (and it is a balance) between data and intuition will be an important tool as we continue to navigate this “next normal” and find new ways to meaningfully connect with our clients and customers.

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