Brief #62: The science of capturing attention

This content originally appeared on May 13, 2021 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

Today we’re discussing: 

  • Attention in ads 
  • 3 strategies to regain consumer trust
  • #BrandCrush: SpaghettiOs 💘

Attention in ads

Did you know that the device and platform where ads appear matters? Or that one third of ads capture the audience’s full attention? Or that people trust recommendations from people more than brands?  

According to Dentsu’s Attention Economy report, “rather than aiming for full attention at any cost, the bigger win for marketers is to avoid full avoidance, where the audience looks – or walks – away.”

User-generated content (UGC) continuously proves more successful than branded or stock content thanks to social proof – a psychological and social phenomenon where people mirror the actions of others to feel like they belong. 

Customers sharing their photos, videos, and other media on their social channels is a good indicator to future prospects that your product will be a great purchase.

How do you want your audience to feel when they interact with your brand? Does the experience you provide live up to that? And if not, what are you doing about it? 

Regaining consumer trust

According to NPR, about one and a half million people are moving through U.S. airport security – and that number is expected to rise as vaccinations slowly roll out around the globe. 

Until then, travel and tourism brands – better yet, all brands – need to continue adapting to new expectations with three main strategies, including:

  1. Highlighting messages of safety from customers and employees (because “social proof”)
  2. Collaborations with trusted figures
  3. Sharing UGC and EGC across marketing channels

Delta consistently does this well – where they blend captivating images by travelers with passenger testimonials, fun polls, and messages of safety.

A screenshot from Delta's Twitter account ft. UGC of a woman standing on a cold, black beach in Iceland – with small glaciers surrounding her

You see, when you create positive and streamlined experiences, your customers and team are more likely to tell their friends or create UGC about your brand. And that’s the social proof you need to capture attention and regain consumer confidence. Here are more examples. 
Ask yourself: Are we giving employees and customers what they want? How are we supporting their needs? How can we do better? Are we listening to understand what they want in the first place?

What we’re learning

#BrandCrush: SpaghettiOs

Each week in #BrandCrush, we highlight exceptional brands that are channeling their customers’ voice to connect more authentically with their audience.

In a recent email, we mentioned some of the most authentic UGC doesn’t always include hashtags or brand mentions – but SpaghettiOs didn’t let that stop them. 

Here’s what they did:

A TikTok user found a Chinese lantern with a written wish to “find their soulmate” and published this TikTok video seeking the owner of the lantern – mentioning he “eats too many SpaghettiOs and has a mustache.” The video currently has over 10.5 MILLION views.

SpaghettiOs commented on the video, and the user followed up with another TikTok (top right) – challenging SpaghettiOs to “make their move” and make him the future of the brand… bold!

SpaghettiOs reshared the creator’s response on their feed – which surely funneled new fans to the brand’s account. Hint: By resharing this content, SpaghettiOs is teaching fans what type of UGC they want to see. 

And who knows, maybe they just discovered their next rising star… like Ocean Spray and Doggface in 2020. 🤷🏻‍♀️