Meaningful Awareness in Advertisements
In this savagely competitive environment, companies need to know the best practices for bagging and retaining consumer attention. I have bleated out over a conference table and across cubicles to colleagues over various roles that there is no universally applicable approach — what matters most is tailoring advertisements to the appropriate context. The positive side is that the amount of attention that consumers are likely to give to ads, regardless of brand or product, is quite predictable.
Everyday, no matter where you look, you are constantly bombarded by advertisements, some as obvious and large as a billboard, others as discreet as a logo on a shirt. There have been many memorable advertisements over the years, yet only a small portion has become a part of our cultural history, and even a smaller fraction has changed history.
For instance, people in the cinema tend to pay high attention to ads and trailers. On the other hand, media multi-taskers — for example, people who watch TV with a computer in their lap — tend to pay less attention. If they are young and also have a mobile phone by their side, then they pay even less attention. Therefore, the best content for ads depends on the context in which viewers will be exposed to these ads, and the predicted level of attention that they are likely to provide.
What has really tweaked my attention dramatically is the inclusion of awareness-based advertising in today’s market. Now to add some context this has been happening for years which is fundamentally really good for the industry from an awareness perspective and broadening diversity across the board.
What does advertising do? To say that it exists to sell stuff only captures part of its evolving role. Today’s brands need to be more than product sellers, they have to stand for something. We live in a participation age where marketing is no longer a one-way message from brand to consumer. Today’s connected consumers expect conversations from brands. So more than ever, brands need something meaningful to say to convince consumers they are part of the same community. Brands strive to connect themselves to something intangible, yet powerful. It’s about relatable moments that engage audiences on an emotional level and activating something deep inside.
For advertising to work, it has to entice attention before it does anything else. That task is much more complicated and expensive than in past because people’s attention spans are shorter and more brands compete for attention. Today’s marketers must think in a two-step model: Entertain people to grab their attention; only then turn to your advertising needs by providing relevant information. Marketers should start their media buying strategy by understanding the attention potential of each media and context—only then will they know how much time and effort to spend on each step.