Why are we called 'Feeling Mutual' ?

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Tom Woodnutt

Founder, Feeling Mutual

June 15, 2022

More than a decade ago back in 2012 (when I had fair less grey hair), I entered a competition set by the WARC’s iconic Advertising publication called ‘Admap’. Their challenge was to envision the future of advertising planning in 2020.


I was delighted to win the Silver Award for my submission. My paper was called ‘The Feeling Is Mutual’. In fact, I liked it so much, I named my consultancy after it. You can read the paper below.



My idea was that brands needed to move away from the linear, broadcast advertising model in which advertising strategy was based on a one-way communication of an (often) rational USP competitive advantage. I argued that instead of ‘communicating’ brands needed to nurture two-way flows of value with customers. Rather than saying who you are, you have to show what you believe in.


I called this ‘Mutuality Planning’ after reading about symbiotic mutualisms in nature: Like the clown fish and sea anemone who live side by side in harmony (each protecting the other from their predators). I believed this back then and even more so now, a decade on.


Brands should not just shout at people as loud as possible to get their attention. They should instead earn their interest by creating shared value. That could be through utilitarian benefits, entertainment, content or whatever is right for the brand and its customer. And in return they will be rewarded with attention, loyalty, social promotion and data-openness.


Feeling Mutual helps brands broker more mutually beneficial relationships with people, by getting an authentic understanding of their relationship and what they need. This empathy will inspire more sustainable brand relationships.


Get in touch to find out how we can help you!

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