The title of a recent @briansolis blog caught my attention, well and for a surprisingly longer time than I would have liked, reading the blog and then the LinkedIn e-book associated with it “Attention is Currency”, made me realise how much of an anomaly that was, as Brian goes on dramatically elucidate that our attention spans are down to 8 secs…(there is a house-fly joke there somewhere, but I meander …and in the process validate the hypothesis…though I think it’s more of an established theory now…and there I go again)
Trying hard to come back to the topic, made me realize is that really what we have become? I mean one hears of phrases like ‘instant gratification’ generation thrown around almost all day, but what does that really mean. We know the most obvious references to dating or the lack of it when it comes to lifestyle preferences of the generation – but what does it mean to a marketer.
How do you be the ‘heartthrob’ for a generation that would have moved on to the next “flavor of the month, scratch that …of the second”? How does a marketer keep the customer’s attention for longer than the now scientifically proven 8 secs? While there are 4.6 Billion (yes with a B, pieces of content being created every day) to fight you for that 8 seconds of attention.
Well I can’t begin to fathom the genius of my 8th grade English teacher who saw this coming all those years ago and tried so hard to cement “Succinct, Succinct, Succinct” (it’s a funny word right! and said three times still makes me giggle, just the words, not if I hear them in her tone of voice) into our writing style. I apologize Mrs.M, I am still trying, I promise to cut a few runny sentences from this piece as well.
Not to mention that this validates, someone who definitely doesn’t need my validation, the master attention grabber himself, Steve Jobs, he had it nailed down pat, and I don’t mean with his bare minimum text on slides, which in itself is commendable, but in his messaging recall about the “Think Different” campaign way back in 1997. Simple black and white headshots and two words…he knew for sure what was coming. The true genius of the man though is not the succinct (someone listened to you Mrs. M) copy – two words on the page, but the clearly identifiable powerful story behind the visual.
That is a universal and time-tested truth that marketers can take solace in, no matter how much the medium changes (140 characters, 6 sec of video) the crux to grabbing attention will always be the same, a powerful story, a story one can relate to, identify with, how you tell it is now entirely up to you. (but yes…preferably in 8 seconds)