I first heard this rather dated concept at a recent Storybrand live training. How could I have missed it? I missed it because I’m blessed with an extra dose of this communications scourge.
The concept was conceived back in 1989 in an economics publication, and supported by research in developmental psychology and human behavior. It has been played out in the markets, entertainment, and even charades (why don’t my teammates understand what I’m pantomiming?). Look it up on Wikipedia for more fun references.
In communications, this is where things go wrong. You write a headline based on the paragraph that follows, but the reader hasn’t read it yet, and isn’t inside your head.
You write a headline based on the paragraph that follows, but the reader hasn’t read it yet, and isn’t inside your head.
And so, confusion ensues. Messaging fails. People leave.
I love a clever headline. I adore metaphors, inferences, humorous hints of the tension ahead. Good for novels. Not so good for marketing copy.
This awareness has made me turn our own marketing inside out to make sure we aren’t suffering from the curse of knowledge.
Do you see the curse of knowledge in your own communications?