The keys to attention-getting messages

Attention-getting messages break through the black and white (photo: VinothChandar on Flickr)
Getting someone’s attention can be a daunting task in today’s world.

There’s so much information flying around and coming at us from every angle at all times that much of it hardly gets noticed, meaning even messages with importance and potential can fizzle out without ever really taking off. Think about it: how many times every day do you skim over a message without really thinking about what it is trying to tell you? If you’re anything like me, it’s happening to you all day, every day.

Still, some messages are succeeding during these crazy times of information overload. The information that truly breaks through the clutter boasts a few key elements: it engages, it provokes and it tells a story.

Enough about you, lets talk about me

One thing hasn’t changed when it comes to getting attention: the guiding principle has always has been and always will be self-interest. Any marketers and communicators trying to put out strong, memorable messages should not only go through the trouble of listening to their customers and prospects to understand what’s important to them, but also should spend just as much time and effort figuring out how to engage them. People need to be able to quickly understand the answer to the question “What’s in it for me?”

Make me feel something

The second most important factor in capturing attention is whether the message provokes emotion. We tend to gravitate to messages that will make us happy or those that anger us or even make us a little uncomfortable. There’s arguably no better way to fade into the background than putting out a bland message that lacks any real impact. This goes for anyone trying to get attention–take musicians. Lady Gaga, for example, puts out a message that is crafted to be either loved or hated and she’s become known by just about the entire world because of it. People look at her performing and feel something. It might be negative, it might be positive, but it’s something. And they remember it.

Tell me a brand story

When it comes to content, attention first goes to concise messages that tell a story. Conveying a short, interesting narrative about how the brand helped someone like the person it’s directed toward can work wonders in getting them to sit up and take notice. People need to be able to relate to something, otherwise it’s just a nebulous idea they’ll likely forget about within five minutes of seeing or hearing it. When they are able to recognize not only “what’s in it for me?” but also see very clearly how something already impacted something else like them, they probably won’t forget it anytime soon.

What do you think? What are the key elements of messages that command your attention?

To learn more about getting attention and the role of creative impact in a world of business marketing change, check out Mobium’s free e-book “The Age of Engagement,” available for download here.

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