Brands need to manage the no-attention economy

With the advent of the Internet, there are many changes in the consumption habits of information in society.

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*This article was originally published in Retina newspaper (Spanish)

  • The author of the article presents the changes in the consumption habits of information in society with the advent of the Internet and gives their opinion about the ideal attitude of brands so they can make themselves stand out in a hyper-connected world.

We are entering an era in which there is an abundance of information, driven by the availability of increasingly more mobile information technologies. Progress has been made in areas such as robotics, automation and the number of connected objects is causing increasingly large amounts of information to be generated. It’s a trend that continues to accelerate in leaps and bounds. However, there is a fundamental factor which limits the magnitude of this process: human attention.

Without a doubt we are facing a very significant change in the way in which we consume information. In the past, when there was little information available, we humans competed for it. From now on, it is the information that will be competing to get human attention. Paradoxically, the abundance of information leads to a deficit of attention which requires us to manage our time more efficiently.

In this context, brands are forced to seek greater relevance and thus capture the attention of their customers. These, usually tend to focus their attention on a handful of trustworthy brands who they are willing to interact with at practically at any time of day without considering this form of communication as being something intrusive.

In this environment, characterised by a constant bombardment of information and lack of user attention, where companies, especially the smaller ones, will have to rely on increasingly more sophisticated technology in order to survive among so much competitiveness. Brands must convey the right message at the right the time, place and in the appropriate format in order to reach their customers more efficiently.
A couple of years ago, a group of researchers from Telefónica developed an algorithm capable of detecting human boredom by observing the activity on their mobile device and the application of machine learning techniques. In their development, various factors were evaluated such as the time elapsed since the last telephone call, the last time they received or sent a text message, the time of day or the intensity with which they use their mobile phone.

Based on machine learning, brands could identify the best time to reach their customers and do so effectively, with certain guarantees that their message arrives at a good time and that it will get the user’s attention.

As regards the right message —what to communicate— brands are faced with a big problem. Usually, they have no idea about the new customers with whom they would like to initiate some form of communication. Up until now, these doubts have been solved partly by the shop assistants of the establishments who, thanks to their experience, were able to create an initial profile of the customer based on their physical appearance and their behaviour and provide a more personalised service based on their observations. To solve this problem in the digital world, technologies are already being developed based on the zero database concept; which aim to replace that first physical interaction of the shop assistant with the customer in the digital environment store.

Without a doubt, these technologies and others which are emerging, help brands differentiate themselves and be more relevant in a no-attention economy, where more and more brands are competing for this precious asset in a universe flooded with information.


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