Monday, April 20, 2015

Captivology - Never Forget the Powerful Effect of Being Remembered

How many of you can draw the Apple logo correctly?  In a recent survey at UCLA, 98.8% of the sample participates failed to draw the logo correctly (everyone either draws the bite on the wrong side or draws two leaves instead of one).  If customers cannot sketch one of the most powerful logos in human history, how can any of us survive the identity parade?
For better or worse, we live in a professional world where attention is a significant driver between success and failure.  Then and now, attention has always mattered.  What is different today is that attention has become scarcer.  Your clients just can't keep up with a world burdened by an exponential growth in information - we have the same 1,440 minutes as our caveman and cavewoman ancestors - but our day is just filled with far more information and distractions.

I recently completed Ben Parr's Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention.  He breaks the heart of Captivology down into seven captivation triggers that we need to pay attention to. These are as follows:

1.     Automaticity Trigger - Using specific sensory cues like colors, symbols, and sounds to capture attention based on automatic reaction to certain stimuli.  Examples – the subconscious influences of color, sound, touch, and other sensory experiences have on our attention.  Automaticity triggers could be applicable to marketing material.  The Journal of Academy of Marketing Science points out that white, pink, yellow are signs of sincerity; blue and red show competence; black, purple, and pink demonstrate sophistication.

2.     Framing Trigger - Adapting to or changing somebody's view of the world so they pay attention to you.  Examples – all our clients have frames of reference and see problems and solutions through their own experience lens.  They typically process information in a way that uses an existing frame of reference – understanding their context and understanding the ways to influence/change their past experiences is critical for attention capture.

3.     Disruption Trigger - Violating people's expectations to change what they pay attention to.  Example – disruption is about changing the status quo.  In an industry marked by various degrees of client service – the goal of gaining attention is about violating and disrupting expectations.  When something or someone violates expectations, we are forced to pay greater attention to the violation and assign a positive (or negative) connotation to that violation.  Firms like a Southwest Airlines or a Starbucks are fundamentally in the service violation/disruption business.

4.     Reward Trigger - Leveraging people's motivations for intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.  Example – all animals, including our clients, are creatures developed specifically for accomplishing goals and seeking rewards.  The rewards that motivate us differ from person to person, but in the end, it really does come down to one thing – a reward has to solve somebody’s problem.  We typically focus on extrinsic rewards regarding our clients – design the water line on time and under budget.  Our clients are really thinking more in terms of intrinsic rewards – “How does _______ make me successful?”

5.     Reputation Trigger - Using the reputations of experts, authorities, and the crowd to instill trust and captivate audiences.  Example – reputation is the short cut proxy that our clients utilize to measure merit.  They don’t have the time to evaluate the merit of every person, company, or idea they encounter.  Reputation is simply the sum total of our beliefs about a person, company, or idea.  Clients boil your reputation down to single word - genius, narcissist, or important – that get quickly assigned to you.  The most important activity for a young engineer – building your reputation as a ________________.        

6.     Mystery Trigger - Creating mystery, uncertainty, and suspense to keep an audience intrigued until the very end.  Example – our clients have what is called a compulsion for completion.  The compulsion for completion is a nagging obsession with unsolved problems and issues. We all love a good mystery – it activates our curiosity and makes us uncomfortable enough to seek out an answer.  In many respects, your firm is in the mystery solving business.  But before you solve a mystery, you have to have and understand the mystery.

7.     Acknowledgment Trigger - Fostering a deeper connection, because people tend to pay attention to those who provide them with validation and understanding.  Example – we want and need to be recognized, validated, and understood by others.  My cats want attention – but my clients need acknowledgment.  They want me to answer a series of acknowledgement questions: Do you think I’m special, unique, or important?, Do you feel what I feel?, Do you care about me?, and Do you understand me?

Remembering and attention cuts both ways.  We want our clients to remember us, but we also want to remember the smallest details regarding our clients.  In closing, I thought this was good in Lucy Kellaway’s column in the Financial Times:

“The ability to remember people strikes me as a bigger asset than emotional intelligence at work.  Most of us don’t especially want empathy in the office, but everyone wants to be remembered.  The more someone is able to recall chapter and verse of all small talk exchanged at previous meetings, the more you are inclined to like and trust them.  It is not just a skill for politicians: it’s for everyone.”

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