Are you a true Attention Grabber? Or just an Attention Seeker?

Are you a true Attention Grabber? Or just an Attention Seeker?

6 tips to make your communications stand out – for the right reasons.

Various, usually unsubstantiated, numbers suggest we’re targets of hundreds or thousands of attempts to talk to us every day. It’s ‘The Noise’. And you don’t have to be a data scientist to feel you’re being shouted at everywhere you go. Even the bottoms of urinals are trying to engage us (or half of us).

The clever attempts can amuse, even if we ignore them. The really clever ones lead us to engage, find out more and take action.  But the lacklustre, me-too, or shouty ones just irritate. They add to The Noise.

That’s bad enough when you have a generous B2C marketing budget. You can quickly determine the impact of what you’re doing. If it’s having a negative effect you can pull the campaign. Lesson learned. Try harder and ‘fail better’ as Samuel Beckett memorably said. The recent curious case of the Lush undercover police campaign is an excellent, if complex, example. It landed the brand, instead of the soap, in hot water. The crime scene tape quickly came down, nothing to see here, and everybody moved on.

Move the debate to B2B and using your marketing money to add to general noise isn’t just a waste of cash, although that is serious enough. It’s a double whammy of damaged perceptions outside in the market and dented morale internally.

In very crowded and competitive industries, such as consulting, huge volumes of ‘communication’ are meeting with equally vast indifference. Brands that should be about insight, precision and professionalism risk coming across as the total opposite.

Power wash social media platforms with endless content and you erase all traces of interest. ‘Trying too hard’ quickly erodes respect. The ‘pull’ model of really-well-judged and compelling communication disintegrates. It’s replaced by the feeling of being nagged by an insistent child, constantly tugging at your sleeve. In short, it’s attention seeking but not attention grabbing.

That’s bad for business building. It’s also bad for employees who see examples of competitors creating serious profiles. Who wants to build a career somewhere nobody’s talking about?

Stop! You’re just contributing to the noise. When your communication isn’t cutting it, it’s time to cut your communication. Reboot and re-set.  And apply some simple but highly effective rules for the future.

Stop being a ‘four in the morning freak’. Social media are meant to be based on the conventions of the real world. So apply the basics of rational social behaviour. Would you get in touch every day with everyone you know? Would you do this several times a day? And at strange times, like four in the morning? How do you think people would look at you if you made a big fuss for minimal reasons, constantly?

Cut down your greetings card list. People who consistently don’t get back to you behave like that for a reason: they don’t want to talk to you. Don’t take it personally. Focus on the responsive ones instead.

Say less and say it better. If the point of most or all of your current communication is just to say something, anything, don’t bother. The silence will be golden not awkward. When people do finally hear from you, they’ll assume it’s because you have something important to share and they will take notice.

Get off the bandwagon. They say that when the real estate agents’ signs appear it’s already too late to spot an ‘up and coming’ area. It’s the same with ‘industry issues’. Will your contribution to the forest of opinion on GDPR really get noticed? Or will it be every bit as irritating as those ‘we don’t want to lose you’ emails you automatically delete? Leave the done deals well alone. Identify topics that nobody else has thought about yet. At the very least, take a ‘sideways look’ and offer an opinion that isn’t identical to six dozen others.

Dare to be Nerdy.  If it’s appropriate, the right people will be interested in the right levels of detail.

But NEVER, EVER be Needy! Your marketing communication will succeed when the people you want to reach stop wishing you would shut up and look forward to opening up your next post.

It’s harsh maybe but true for sure: pump down the volume and start to hear not The Noise, but the sound of real appreciation.




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