Why Your Brand Needs Attention Rather than Awareness

Why Your Brand Needs Attention Rather than Awareness

Buzzwords. They’re everywhere, and marketers love to use them. We’re all about “synergy,” “storytelling,” “big data,” and all that good stuff. Or at least you’d think so, based on how often we throw around such words.

Well, in this article I want to take two such buzzwords, and break them down to show you exactly what they mean for you and your marketing campaign.

Those words are awareness and attention.

Isn’t this just a matter of semantics?

At first glimpse, you might think awareness and attention are pretty similar, but they can mean very distinct things in a marketing context.

According to a common dictionary definition, awareness means, “the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.”

And the same dictionary defined attention as, “the act or faculty of attending, especially by directing the mind to an object.”

What can be inferred from these definitions is that we can be aware of something in a passive way, without really giving it our directed and focused attention.

As marketers, this distinction is extremely important. If we’re selling something, we don’t merely want our target audience to be aware that we exist in the market. We want our target audience to give us their full attention so that we can convert them into a customer.

Attention is the end game

You see where I’m going with this? Attention is the marketer’s best friend. But it is also extremely difficult to capture in our overcrowded world.

Let me give you a quick example of how this plays out in real life.

In the next five seconds, name three car companies that you are aware of. Any three. Go.

Now, quickly name three distinct features of each of those three car companies that sets them apart from one another.

Ah, that first question wasn’t so bad, was it? But the second question probably had you scrambling a little bit. Or maybe you couldn’t come up with three differentiators for each car company. That’s okay. I couldn’t do it either on my first try.

The point is, we are aware of many brands, but we haven’t given each and every one of them enough of our attention to understand their unique offerings. And we never can give every brand that we encounter that level of deep consideration. There just isn’t enough time in the day.

So what this means for marketers is that we must somehow try to capture the attention of our target audience whenever possible, rather than just capturing more awareness.

Content marketing is your friend

But how exactly do I make this work for my brand?

Well, you’re going to need to develop top-of-mind awareness using compelling, interesting, and valuable content.

If you’re not already using a content marketing strategy to do this, it might be time to start. From blog posts to infographics and everything in between, you’re going to want to get inside the minds of your target audience so that you can give them exactly what they want.

Oh, and at this point, it’s not about selling anything. Remember, your goal is to capture attention rather than just awareness. You want people to be able to rattle off the key points that make your brand stand out in your industry.

Only then will it be time to sell.

Ready to give it a try?

Yes, it’s going to take time. Yes, it’s going to take lots of original content. But in our crowded world where marketers must compete with Instagram photos of kittens and BuzzFeed articles about the best color to describe your inner personality, there is no easy way out.

And in case you were wondering, yes, that is an actual article topic from BuzzFeed. Ugh.

Here’s the bottom line. Attention is way more important than awareness these days. So figure out how your brand will stand out. Make that the goal of your content marketing efforts. You’re competing for two very precious resources here, time and mindshare.

Oh, and if you’re still having trouble figuring out how this could apply to your brand in particular, shoot me a tweet and I’ll try to help you generate a few specific ideas for your niche.

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Discover exactly which steps we take with each new project, and how you can systematize your marketing efforts.

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