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Time is of the Essence. So is Your Brand!

Attention spans are short. Do you know how long your brand has to hit your target audience? You have only a few seconds to make your first impression. “The addictive nature of web browsing can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds — the same as a goldfish,” said the BBC in this article.

“Even if a brand could reach everyone, it still can’t break through most of the time. People simply shut out a message by fast-forwarding or clicking to the next one”, says Sally Hogshead in her book “Fascinate”. Can you and your brand break through the short attention span of the people you are trying to reach?

The late Roger Ebert wrote a brilliant post on “The quest for frisson” which is the French word for “a brief intense reaction, usually a feeling of excitement, recognition or terror”. This translates into online behavior as the need to “Like,” Plus One and Tweet away — searching for the next buzz.

It may be a challenge to capture your audience at warp speed but it is not impossible. To give yourself half a chance, your brand must be targeted and effective. In order for brands to be successful, they must be:

1. Sharp
Run-of-the-mill won’t cut it. Get rid of those old hand-me-downs and get stylish already! Remember: image is everything. Frumps need not apply.

2. Succinct
Get to the point and shed those extra words. There is no room for verbose fluff, and nobody will read that dense text anyway. So, make sure your most important points are seen loud and clear! Bonus points for making them memorable.

3. Quality
People recognize quality when they see it. Even if only subliminal, high quality is recognized and rewarded. Don’t be mediocre — strive to be the best!

4. Consistent

Brands must present a cohesive message and image, so each time somebody experiences the brand it correlates to the larger whole. The all too-frequent alternative is a disjointed, fractured image that fights itself. There is no difference between a brand with mixed messages and a competitor’s message — they both fight your own brand in the exact same way! There is no room for confusion in branding.So, what is your brand’s message? Can you summarize it in eight to nine seconds or are you missing the mark?

Want to check your attention span? Try this: Psychology Today Attention Span Test

Second in a series of posts by Peggy Fitzpatrick and Paul Biedermann.
Image of dartboard courtesy of raspberreh and licensed via Creative Commons.

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