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The basic idea of heroism is wonderfully simple: a mammoth task is overcome by a single individual who in doing so saves the day, the world, or even the universe. We’ll exclude the acts of real-world heroism, which deserve a higher level of appreciation. Considering only fictional characters, heroes do one thing particularly well and that’s to entertain us.
Good versus bad, superpowers, action, imagination, a happy ending: entertainment doesn’t require complexity. On the contrary. If we’re being honest, don’t we all enjoy the occasional animated movie that’s actually targeted at a very young audience?
Keeping in mind what entertains us, let’s think about business marketing — how a brand communicates to their audience for effective engagement.
Business marketing and the never-ending battle for attention
Audio-visual media was created to entertain. And to this day, whenever we consume media through any sort of screen – be it in a cinema, on our TV, notebook, or phone – we expect some sort of emotional response, regardless of the content. Joy, sadness, laughter, or fear: A screen signals entertainment.
This connection has been hardwired into our brains (for many of us from early childhood), and it’s undoubtedly the case for the mobile, on-demand generation. If we don’t feel entertained, we switch off.
As content producers in today’s media landscape, we’re in a constant battle, begging the viewer for two more seconds of their time, similar to the harlequin summoned by the regent. If we fail to deliver we perhaps don’t literally lose our head, but will certainly be shaken by low audience retention figures, the modern day’s assessment of and verdict on our right to occupy the viewers’ screens.
Some data points show how challenging business marketing has become:
- According to one oft-cited statistic, a person’s attention span is, on average, about eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000.
- Consumers are getting screen fatigue big time: A survey of 2,000 Americans found that a majority (53%) feel burnt out on screens, especially with the boom in videoconferencing during the pandemic.
- The sheer amount of digital content vying for consumer attention today is staggering. According to Statista, consumers downloaded 230 billion apps in 2021, up more than 63% from 2016.
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We can be heroes: Entertain your audience
Before we create a media asset to market our business, we first have to ask ourselves what we really want to achieve. What defines success?
Leaving aside the various metrics for media performance analysis, let’s assume that we’d like the viewer to take some sort of action, like visiting a website, watching another video, signing up for a webinar or an in-person event. Only an engaged viewer can be persuaded to continue on a journey.
So, let’s entertain them! There is no point in devoting 90 seconds (the ideal length of an explainer video) purely to information. Not only is it hard to provide complete information in such short time, but if the viewer has all the information, what’s their incentive to want more?
To be effective business marketing, the video must lure viewers on a quest to find the answers to the questions that have been generated in their minds by what they’ve just seen.
This can be achieved in many ways, but the concept should ultimately involve being inventive and unconventional. It must be “different” from anything out there. Whether the audience reacts with immediate appreciation or gradual questioning, this innovative marketing will most certainly grab their attention, which is half the battle. And isn’t driving awareness an essential element of marketing?
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For example, if a large corporation suddenly, and slightly out of character, decides to publish a semi-animated comic series to market their software solutions, you would expect this to raise a few eyebrows.
But giving something as abstract as a software solution a face, a body, and superpowers while depicting the problems they solve as natural forces, monsters, and other disasters – even though these are only metaphors – makes the concept tangible.
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This concept of “CX solution heroes” has the potential to engage an audience that has no prior knowledge, affiliation, or even the slightest interest in the solution, company, or area of business.
Taking a leap into psychology and neuromarketing, there might even be a case to be made for an emotional response by those who can relate this comic-style format to the cartoons they watched in the 80s and early 90s, thus addressing an age bracket that occupies many of today’s leadership positions.
There’s no blueprint on how to attract and engage an audience. Above all, continuous evaluation and development are key. Innovation does not end with success. But should this concept prove to be successful, then maybe entertainment in business marketing is the hero we’ve all been holding out for.