Attention Deficit Nation™


The Tonight Show takes to the streets of New York to see just how carefully people listen.

Let’s face it: in our hyper-competitive global marketplace and in this era of hyper-communicative, multi-channel information deluge, one of the most important things we’re all competing for is time and human attention. Last night during a Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show rerun, one of the show’s writers hit the streets of New York during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to ask people’s opinion on the matchup between the hometown Rangers and the L.A. Kings. The twist: the questions being asked included words that were intentionally made up or wrong, yet the interviewees carried on with their answers without missing a beat. It’s as if their brains didn’t register nor did they even pause or question the error in words (i.e., “Who do you think will win the Starbucks Cup?”). Perhaps what raised my antenna on the subject of human attention during Fallon’s show was triggered by an experience at work yesterday. After reviewing the services we provide on a conference call—with many references to strategy—a participant then asked “Do you do strategy?” As innocent as these two examples are, they highlight one of the biggest challenges of our time: for any number of reasons and circumstances, people often don’t listen, hear or process what we communicate. From a brand standpoint, we all know that without awareness—which requires attention—you’re dead. And as it’s harder and harder to differentiate your brand and meaningfully stand out amidst disruptive competitors emerging across industries, it’s more and more important to get the (time and) attention of your target audiences—however you may achieve that—to ensure your brand’s unique positioning and messaging gets through. The imperative and opportunity for brands: capitalize on aligning every touch-point between your brand and key stakeholders to reinforce and “communicate” your unique value. This first requires that your brand’s unique value proposition / positioning is fully shored-up (and relevant today amidst more and more competition in every industry). The more ways you can DELIVER the unique promise of your value proposition across key interactions with your stakeholders, independent of what you’re formally COMMUNICATING, the more likely you’re going to be relevant, connect with your audiences, and get your brand the attention it deserves. Read our recent blog post on the challenges of differentiation and the need to leverage all touch-points to build your brand.