“Your attention, please…”


We live in a media filled, message-fragmented world. It’s hard enough to get someone’s attention when you’re stopping traffic on Michigan Avenue with a thousand other tattooed marchers, a spray-painted protest sign in your hands and a look of righteous insanity in your eyes.

It’s even harder to hold someone’s attention long enough to get your b2b branding message across.

Looks like a job for an attention structure

Attention structures in a b2b brand strategy are used to keep involvement in information for long periods of time. (More than the standard three or so minutes) They’re also used to shift attention from one topic to another.

A majority of conventional attention structures in b2b marketing are linear. They begin at the start, go to the middle, and end with the ending. An amazing concept, I know.

These traditional b2b marketing structures have always worked because once they catch your attention it’s hard to look away. The problem with a linear structure in a world of oversaturated communications is that they require you to pay that initial attention first, or else they won’t be effective. And for most b2b brands, the big-budget, celebrity-driven, in-your-face :30 second Super Bowl spot simply isn’t an option. Neither is a traffic-stopping mass protest.

I’m in control

Non-linear structures like hypertext, diagnostic tools, and the myriad of interactive websites, apps and eBooks employ the use of factoids and sidebars to make it simple for your audience to enter the information stream and leave—gathering the key data the seek at any point they might enter.

These formats create a sense of power and familiarity because they make it easy to access information whenever the need arises. They put the user in total control and respect their investment in time and attention.

Tell me a story

Another way to maintain attention over time while creating powerful brand involvement in the process is by telling brand stories. No one can resist a good story, whether it’s how a product was used in a cool, new way or how a brand played a key role in the resolution of some related human drama.

If a story is relevant to your audience, they’ll pay more attention to it than anything else. If the story is about someone who they admire and aspire to be, then they’ll give you their utmost attention because it’s something familiar.

Ultimately, you’ll gain more attention, longer, when you seek ongoing dialogue rather than short bursts of awareness followed by the hope that they come back.

We have more to say in our eBook on creative engagement. Click here to download.

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