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Don’t sell…entertain

Following on from my earlier blog on engagement and receptivity, there’s an interesting thought on the Leo Burnett Toronto blog – one of those intuitive obvious-when-you-think-about-it thoughts but this is actually backed up by some research they’ve done.

Engagement, they say, is driven by:

‘…personal stuff, human stuff, not marketing stuff.  People become engaged in a communication when it…fulfills basic human needs like providing something useful, being entertaining, provoking thought, reinforcing ego and status, making the person feel more clever or better about themself in some way, and so on.’

They go on to say that what doesn’t drive engagement is:

‘…being sold to. Clarity, branding, message take-away, new information: none of these correlates with engagement.  It’s not that those things aren’t important in some way, it’s just that they’re insufficient.  If engagement isn’t there, then it doesn’t matter how brilliant the strategy or message is, people won’t spend time with it.  If the engagement is there, we can rhapsodize about our products and people won’t mind.’

I think this is very true. If you talk to the editors of our magazines, they know what engages their readers, and it isn’t being sold to, talked down to or patronised. Give them something useful, give them something they can do something with, give them something which entertains them and that is engaging. A one word answer to this whole question? Make it Relevant (sorry that’s three)

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