The power of print: five ways to capture audience attention

Consumers are busy, distracted and fed stimuli from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep. With so much noise, it’s difficult for a brand to distinguish themselves and remain topical within consumer’s eyes.

If brands can’t capture the attention of consumers, how they will survive? Their long-term success depends on winning the attention of consumers.

Ben Parr, author of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention, spent years researching the science behind captivating others and he came up with key triggers that call people to attention.

We explore how print offers the best platform to execute these triggers and captivate consumers:

1. Automaticity

If a fire alarm goes off, you are likely to turn your head. If a waitress is wearing red lipstick, she is likely to get more tips.

Sensory cues like loud sounds, bright colours and smell grab our attention automatically because our brains depend on salient sensory cues to alert us to new situations or warn us of danger.

Print media can assist brands in targeting consumers using sensory cues to grab attention automatically. Crimestoppers Trust UK collaborated with Dutch design agency The Edge Factory to create cards infused with the scent of cannabis.

These were distributed to citizens in the UK to help the charity identify illegal cannabis farms. The results were impressive, increasing information reports by 33 percent with one leading to the shutting down a large cannabis farm in Hampshire that estimated to contain £700,000 worth of cannabis.

2. Framing

Our frames, or the way we view the world, are made up of our biological, personal and social experiences. We use these perceptions to filter the stimuli around us.

When a brand is looking to capture attention, leveraging repetition is one way to adapt or change the audience’s frame to ensure your brand message is heard. After all, people believe what they see or hear frequently.

Creating a multi-channel campaign that offers repetition of your brand message ensures maximum exposure and print is proven to work well with other channels. In an IAB study on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns within the automobile industry, using only desktop advertising saw a 23 percent lift in brand consideration, however, when desktop was layered with print, it resulted in a 50 percent lift.

3. Disruption

Disruption is about changing the status quo. Want to shake things up and capture the attention of digital natives? Send them direct mail. According to an InfoTrends study, over 81 percent of millennials will take a minute or more to review direct mail if they find it interesting and about 80 percent believe that direct mail can be an effective means of communication.

4. Reward

All humans seek rewards like gifts, food or discounts. Rewards we can touch, experience, or even simply visualise have a greater impact on our attention – and print can help make this more definitive in people’s minds.

Lass Natural cosmetics created a coupon that disintegrates over a 48-hour period to visually demonstrate the limited time offer of 50 percent off cosmetics – and it worked. Of the coupons distributed near six major outlets, 70 percent were used in the allocated time frame. Clearly, seeing the reward disintegrate in their hands launched coupon recipients into action.

5. Reputation

Consumers rely on reputable sources when gathering information and making purchasing decisions. While most ads are designed to avoid information overload, sometimes extra or complex information is required. Brands can aid this process and leverage from print.

Studies have shown that print is the best way to deliver complex information, increasing the customers’ comprehension and recall. Neuromarketing firm TrueImpact found that direct mail requires 21 percent less cognitive effort to process than digital media and offered a 75 percent recall over 44 percent from a digital ad. 

This story is part of a content partnership with TSA Limited.

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