By James Maxwell on Monday, 5 August 2019

It takes just five seconds for an average Spotify listener to skip to the next track. Forty seconds for a person to switch from one task to another at their computer. The battle for attention, and retention, has never been more intense, and will only become more so. The combination of ceaseless technological change and an explosion in the amount of content available, means brands have to behave differently in order to drive response.

This perfect storm requires brand behaviour to become truly ‘people first’ and demonstrably ‘human’ in order to secure stand-out. This shift is driven by demand. People no longer want to hear about your digital capability, unique AI or vast processing speed. The majority of us can’t keep up with the latest technologies, let alone understand how the widget works.

Instead, the factors determining whether people engage with a brand, consume content and eventually buy, are relevance, authenticity and recommendation. Which means that, counterintuitively in a digital world, brands have to be about their humanity. This includes articulating and delivering a brand’s difference in terms of a core purpose: to tackle a friction point in order to make the world of their consumer better.


• The relentless battle for attention will only get harder. Brand need to be human in the way they think, behave and communicate. People buy people, not widgets.

• Understand the pressures and values of your audience, and what makes your audience’s world better.

• Articulate and deliver a human-focused purpose, to drive engagement and response.

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