Three wars are raging in business: a war for attention, a war for trust and a war for ideas.
If you’re not aware of this, you’re already losing.
The War for Attention
Attention is the first thing we need from our reader or listener. In Zag: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands, Marty Neumeier claims that every single day we’re bombarded by 3,000 marketing messages, yet our ability to pay attention hasn’t changed a jot. If anything —thanks to the tsunami of competing demands on us — it’s declined.
And the clue’s in the language: pay attention. Giving something our attention incurs a cost to us, which is why we expect a return on our investment of time and energy. So a challenge in this war is to at once grab someone’s attention and convince them that it will be worth their while heeding us.
This is to do with communication devices, like headlines and opening statements, but it also involves reputation, branding, positioning and perception. Taking a genuinely distinctive or ballsy stance on a topic — in other words, taking a risk — is one way of doing it.
Marketers talk about ‘brand positioning’, ie influencing how the market perceives you. But to do that you must take a position on something that matters; you have to have a point of view. And the bolder that point of view, the more you (or your organisation) will get noticed. This is about being ‘remarkable’. You communicate so strongly that other people talk about you and actively seek out your views; they become your upaid PR agency.
‘Marketing is the price we pay for being unremarkable’ (not my words, sadly).
Be remarkable and you’ll start winning the War for Attention.
Next week: the War for Trust.
In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about RHETORICA®, my writing workshop that will weaponise your words, then book a 15-minute slot to speak to me. Together we can assess the state of your people’s writing skills and I’ll share some new writing tips with you — whether or not we end up working together. (The only thing I ask is that you complete an über-short questionnaire, to make sure we’re the right fit and that I can help you; hope that’s OK with you. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/B2K8P7X.) Speak to you soon.