What gains attention?

We’ve all heard the rant: Today’s society has no attention span! Everyone is constantly distracted! No one listens anymore!” Taking that mindset into today’s marketing world, it is easy to believe that ads need to be fast, loud, eye-catching and provocative; that you need to hit people over the head with an ad to sell anything. Sure! I’ll give you that. And yet, how many of you have binge-watched Netflix for six hours if there’s a good season running? Or sat down with a good book for a couple of hours after a long day at the office? The problem isn’t society’s lack of attention, it’s that people are sick and tired of ads hitting them in the face! Ads are everywhere – Youtube, TV, posted on the streets, pop ups on websites – so many things are demanding our attention. We have hit an age where collectively, society, has declared “ENOUGH!” The question we need to ask isn’t how can we gain people’s attention but what will gain their attention? And the answer is simple: stories.

Why do you do what you do?

Dumping data has never moved anyone to action.  We connect with the things that motivate peoples actions.  So ask the question, “why do I do what I do?” A company that does this well is Apple. They could provide a long list of the specs on their computers or on why their products are better than their competitors.  But instead, their ads focus on WHY they do what they do. They are world-changers; innovators trying to redefine what it means to stay plugged-in. Their commercials are stories that leave you feeling engaged because changing the world is something we all want to do. 

What’s your story?

Stories

“I was 16 years old. I saw the world for the first time and I didn’t get it. Why were people so angry? It just seemed like the answer to every ones problems was simple. If you used love a little more than hate. Kindness over greed. The world could be fixed. Made whole. I figured there has got to be people out there who get this. And I was going to find them. Now here I am. Telling their story through the eye of my lens. To share the love. If you want to support this cause click on the link below to be a part of the story.”   

This is a piece of my personal story.  Now tell me honestly, does the above seem more captivating than if I said, “ATTENTION! I’m travelling the world to film people’s stories with my camera! In order to support my effort click on the link below!” 

The second example is short, snappy, straight to the point.   It’s quick and easy to read.  But, why was the first example so much more engaging?  It’s a story.  It draws you in.  It tells you WHY I am doing what I’m doing.  We connect with people on a personal level when we can share the emotion.  

A study was done on this topic. Subjects were given an MRI while they watched a story. Their brains seemed to react as though they themselves were a part of the story- not just simply observing. When the character in the story was angry, the viewers were angry. When the characters were sad, the audience was sad. It’s why we cringe at horror movies, cry at movies like Old Yeller and feel butterflies when we watch a true love story.  A well-told story pulls you in and makes you feel a part of the plot because you can relate on a personal level.

Stories have become very powerful in the marketing world.  Stories work because the viewer becomes engaged with the content as they relate to the characters, the emotions and the events.  If the viewer is engaged they are more likely to be open  to the product or service being marketed – and more likely to buy into it.   

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