Brands need to steal consumers’ attention from someone else: Faris Yakob

The world has reached the point of attention saturation, with consumers so engrossed in media, that brands seeking to speak to them have to steal their attention from somewhere else, Faris Yakob has warned.

Speaking at Mumbrella’s CommsCon the founder of Genius Steals said the time for public relations to become the predominant carrier of messages had arrived as traditional advertising struggles to carve out a slice of people’s attention span.

Yakob said that from the time of Shakespeare when Marc Antony demanded “lend me your ears”, the attention economy had become more and more important.

“Attention has a value, therefore we can infer that it is finite because only things that are finite have value,” Yakob said.

“The economics are the science of scarcity and allocation thereof.”

He said with the information revolution and people filling their entire days with media, there was no free time left in their lives to fake it anymore.

As a result he said that companies vying for that attention now needed to steal it from others. Coupled with the active retreat by consumers from ads, brands now needed to earn that stolen attention, he said.

“Advertising is a tax poor people pay,” he said.

But he warned PR practitioners that ad agencies were now trying to use the same devices to steal attention that PR had traditionally relied on and that agencies needed to understand the integration of ideas and approach.

Citing Burger King in the US, he said that the biggest advertising ideas were capable of creating their own PR and could force their way into the lives of consumers.

“The creative industry has begun to understand that earning attention is crucial,” he said.


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