If You Want to Enact Change, Breaking Through the Noise Is Key

Author: 
Jimmy Verrett

Take a moment to look around, and I suspect you’ll quickly find anecdotal evidence to support what research now confirms: Increased consumption of content is shortening attention spans. Whether it’s watching TV, scrolling through mobile apps, checking email, or streaming music, American adults are devoting more time to media content interactions than ever, now more than 11 hours of each day.

This trend makes it challenging to hold an audience’s attention. Brands intent on engaging with audiences in meaningful ways must focus on breaking through the deafening noise of content overload to make any headway.

Most Americans are exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every day. To stand out in this cacophony, it’s important to deliver value every time you reach out – with new and relevant information, actionable insights, or unique perspectives, for example. Without these, your brand is part of the information overload your audience is trying so hard to combat. In short, unless you demonstrate value, your messages — current and future — will be filtered out as safe to ignore.

To truly connect with your audience, it’s important that you meet them on their terms and provide the change they seek. Ask yourself: How will your content make their lives better? What are they learning from you? What benefit is achieved through interaction with your content. Why should they care about what you have to say? Being clear, concise, and community-focused will help your message rise above the clamor.

1. Build community and credibility. Going above and beyond your company’s latest sales messaging supports the customer journey and creates a welcoming space. We’ve found that to create sustainable change in an audience, it’s important to create and nurture an ongoing conversation. Instead of “one and done,” communications or experiential activities, consider building birds-of-a-feather communities that keep your audiences engaged during those times when you’re not having face-to-face interactions at live events and meetings. A pleasant, helpful community builds trust, and if you can create meaningful connections in these spaces, you’ll earn lasting consumer loyalty.

Also, get your customer outreach into the real world. Nail down those online connections with the personal, real-life interactions that build long-term relationships. And whether customers attend your live events virtually or in person, the organic exchange of ideas should feel fluid and consistent between settings.

2. Maintain a cohesive communications plan. When you’re delivering truly useful, meaningful, and engaging content, you’re building credibility in your brand’s intentions. Sharing useful, educational material engenders trust because it’s not a sales push; it genuinely serves the readers’ needs. People will want to hear from you if you send them the right content, in the right channel, at the right time. So show your audience what’s in it for them.

To learn what your audiences’ cares about, listen and engage deeply with them. Demonstrating real interest in their needs and connecting them with like-minded people sets the stage for impactful conversations. You’ll be able to share timely topics relevant to their business needs and communicate regularly to reinforce the message. If you can do this, you’ve already delivered value and built a foundation for lasting relationships.

3. Capitalize on live brand interaction. The most effective ways of reaching and engaging an audience happen in person. Design your live experiences to engage an audience in ways that can only be done face-to-face — networking, for instance. Breaking through the noise means constructing a campaign that identifies messages to be delivered in an array of channels that will reach your audience and effect the change you’re seeking, using digital channels for some communications and live event (channels) for building emotional bonds and connections.

While it’s a huge win and opportunity to immerse customers in all-things-your-brand events, even remote “live” exchanges have value. In fact, 67% of those live viewers are more likely to buy tickets to future events. Inviting virtual participation to your face-to-face events connects you with more prospects and extends the reach of your brand community.

The communication landscape is undeniably cluttered, and attention spans are certainly shrinking. But if you listen to your audience, identify their needs, and create an experience and community where they feel heard and understood and have their expectations met, you’ll break through the noise and make a lasting connection.

Jimmy Verrett is a senior creative strategist of InVision Communications, an engagement agency that provides best-in-class business communication solutions, designing and bringing to life business-critical engagements such as sales meetings, user conferences, employee engagement campaigns, product launches, and more.