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Genius Steals Founder, Strategist and author of Paid Attention, Faris Yakob returned to CATFOA (Conversations About the Future of Advertising) on July 19, at Fine Line Café. As the 25th speaker in the 10th year of CATFOA, Faris discussed key concepts he sees as challenges and opportunities for the advertising and marketing industries.
CATFOA founder and former MIMA President, Tim Brunelle kicked-off the event and gave a warm welcome to the audience with a slight disclaimer. Faris has the ability to talk on and on about any subject for lengthy amounts of time especially marketing/advertising.
Faris led with a short description of his past leading up to the start of Genius Steals, a company named after the concept that new ideas are just a combination of other ideas and invention is generally produced by inspiration of other thoughts. He also outlined four areas he feels are consistent across all disciplines of marketing/advertising.
Faris claims that all advertising and marketing practitioners deal in the currency of customer attention. He stated that the attention of a potential customer is the substrate of modern advertising. If you want consumers to buy your product you need to communicate with them and to communicate effectively, you must first gain their attention.
He set the tone for the presentation by taking a refreshing psychological stance contrary to the very common hard and fast data centered perspective common in the industry.
Beginning in the 50’s and 60’s, companies found “attention hacks” and crude tactics to implant ideas or sentiments behind a product or service. As time progressed, these campaigns were deemed evermore successful and have exponentially multiplied. Today consumers find themselves with very little “free time” as brands are constantly competing for their attention
As he provided the caveat of how digital numbers can be “malleable” at times, Faris stated that 40% of media buys go to working media and 31% of digital budgets go into ad-tech to further refine methods of effectively gaining attention.
Through the years, as brands and agencies have tested and tried out-of-the-box methodologies, the traditional rules of advertising have blurred. Faris points out that the mediascape has changed dramatically and repetition or frequency of a message equates to power. Overcoming the noise effectively is the paradigm.
Modern tactics of savvy politicians are to purposely make outrageous claims or say ridiculous things that are obviously contrary to reality. Negative blowback generally is followed however the spotlight gained from a trending statement can be leveraged in many ways.
Pointing out that the internet provides such an abundance of information, everything can be fact checked will be and expertise becomes suspect.
Faris lands the point that if ads don’t create their own media attention, they’re unlikely to be successful. Ideas that hack culture have become the new standard of what garners extraordinary results – i.e mass attention. If this is so, how can one cut through the noise while still be observed in a positive light?
In his summary of what the marketing and advertising field has become, Faris identifies a strategy challenge that agencies are currently facing. He suggests taking a more holistic approach to advertising instead of specializing in one area or discipline.
He presented the example of REI’s #OptOutside messaging and their choice to refrain from participating in the traditional Black Friday mania . He illustrated the dynamic of brands that exemplify their core beliefs with actions can conjure powerful emotion. Referring back to the previously discussed concept of attention hacks, emotions can trump rational thinking and quickly form strong relational bonds between consumers and a brand.
Setting goals to create informative and entertaining stories that help people live better with experiences will evoke positive emotional responses which will garner their customer’s attention and trust.
Watch his full presentation:
Faris Yakob is the author of Paid Attention: Innovative advertising for a digital world and has combined his experience of a variety of different disciplines into a book that outlines the challenges faced in digital marketing. Faris claims that his book possibly could be the only book that has its own trailer to promote it. Check it out here: Paid Attention Trailer
This blog post was written by Marketing Committee volunteer, Nick Worley