Engaging Audiences

April 30, 2019

We recently had the lucky pleasure of hearing Dr Carl Marci, Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience and Co-Founder of Innerscope Research, present to the agency about engaging audiences. He validated much of what we know about reaching and enticing consumers of any kind, which includes the need for targeted media reach and frequency to make the message stick.

However, any decent media director knows that content is King, and that it’s the 60/40 or even 80/20 rule in terms of content/media “importance.” Neuroscience has proved this out. Based on extensive Nielsen research advertising must accomplish 3 key things in the eyes of the beholder, and it must do it very quickly:

  2. Elicit EMOTION
  3. Produce MEMORY TRACE

Just about any ad or piece of content has about 7 seconds to get the attention of the viewer and keep them there longer.  This first touch is critically linked to maintaining the attention span of consumers.  It must grab them and pull them away from their tasks, and then rapidly get to the next mission, eliciting emotions.

What emotions are you seeking to surface? Some ads use fear factor, others use puppies. It all depends on the goal of the communication and how the message drives the consumer to want to act.  Finally, memory trace is an actual brain function where the mind creates a “trace” of what is has seen and places it in the content catalogue of the brain for future recall.

Without the memory trace of a Brand in someone’s mind, it is more challenging to get through any deeper messages or sell products. Audiences must first know the brand and maybe even its value or broader acceptance, before they are ready to receive the things the brand has to offer.

“Priming” is a tactic often used to move this 3-step process quicker. Priming in media communications is a context that will be used to interpret subsequent communication. Marketing has a lot of tasks to accomplish to achieve its business goals.  It must create memory, evoke emotion, be as sensory as possible, reward the consumers and provide personal relevance.

Reframing these key things from media lens…

  1. Get ATTENTION aka Get the right REACH
  2. Elicit EMOTION aka target in the right MINDSET to receive
  3. Produce MEMORY TRACE aka Secure FREQUENCY to ensure this happens

Flipping these 3 tenets to their media meaning displays how both media and creative content have to work together for either to succeed.


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