How branding combats the dilution of time in the attention economy
As a child, I remember how my family would gather for the Sunday night movie and we’d all have to be quiet because Dad was on the fixed phone line in the kitchen. How things change. Fast forward 35 years and my teenage kids are watching their favourite YouTube channels, my wife finds out what bikes races I’m doing via Facebook, our family communicate via WhatsApp and for laughs, my kids send me short videos of themselves with some form or augmented reality to overlay their faces.
The devices and channels change but we all still communicate, engage and tell stories.
For the first time in the history of mankind, technology allows us to communicate and interact with each other and the world around us like never before. The problem often touted as millennials is not a problem, it’s simply the confluence of technology and a growing sector of society who are familiar with that technology.
Under this new regime to have any hope of being successful, modern branding and marketing must address the Attention Economy.
The world is speeding up. We’re all bombarded with multiple marketing and social channels. We’re time poor. Consumers attention is in short supply. From the time we wake until we’re back in bed we’re connected to the world. Everyone and everything are competing for our attention. I often think modern life is too busy. Only history will tell us if we’re all slowing going crazy but this is the reality we live in. This is the reality that as brand and marketing professionals we must embrace and ultimately understand. Under this regime, I believe no one channel can own a customer. This is why modern marketing must be driven by branding.
Putting it simply branding’s sole purpose is to drive engagement. From the paradigm of branding, all marketing must be consistent and unified. Running a TVC without it reflecting a broader brand communication strategy is a complete waste of a client’s time and money. You may as well be pissing up against a wall.
Make sure you have and follow a consistent brand and apply it to everything you do and say. Remember your business success will live or die on how well your branding is applied to all touch points and how consistent it is. Hence the term ‘on brand’. From how you answer the phone and deal with customers, to your communications, your packaging, your messaging, your website, the tone of voice and the quality of your product or service, it’s all important. With Amazon’s entry into the Australian market, this will only increase the importance of effective branding and marketing.
Of all the various facets of branding, culture, I believe drives the most success. Putting it simply culture is the hymn book that everyone in your business preaches from. It gives you purpose and underpins the most important aspect of branding. The Why. As marketing evolves it heads closer to the values of branding. In the 50’s you simply informed people what was great about your product. Remember USPs? As customers attention is being fought for simply telling people about your product and service is not enough. People are looking for stories, a reason to believe. Something they aspire to or they see or want as a reflection of themselves. Without your own business’s team having a culture and reason to believe how do you expect them to convince potential customers to believe in what you sell.
If there is one thing that I encourage you all to do with the Attention Economy, improve your targeting. Look at your business from the outside in and put customers at the centre of everything you do. To help understand this, map out the day of your ideal client. What do they do? Where do they go? Where do they live? Where do they work? Use this to find their pain points and where and when it’s best to engage them. Better still meet them, talk to them and more importantly listen to them. Look for an insight. Get a reality check on your market and better still you might learn something. New forms of digital channels, when done well, are great at targeting.
Ultimately this will help focus and target your brief and offer creative and effective solutions. Ensure you build value and meaning for your customers on the back of your companies service and culture. Remember the customer journey doesn’t finish with just the sale anymore.
In the attention economy, your product or service cannot suffer from schizophrenic branding or marketing. The market is getting wise to fakes. Any chinks in the armour will drive a lack of trust and drive potential customers to the competition. When an effective brand strategy is based on why you believe in what you’re doing, it becomes a mission and a goal for your organisation. Preach it from the pulpit, drive it through your organisation and lead your team. This informs everything else. Combined with targeting, you can strategically grow your business and stand out in the attention economy.
At Loop, we ask new clients why first. We love helping companies and individuals turn their passion and ambition into great brands.