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I went to South by Southwest this year – the annual Film, music and tech conference in Austin, TX.  It was my first time to attend and I actually loved it.  I was inspired, was a part of one of the top activations on site with the IPSOS Girls’ Lounge, and I learned a lot.

What stood out the most was all of the NOISE of brands trying to get my attention…and few stood out.  SXSW is a destination event for brands trying to get noticed; and in my opinion, many failed.  A lot of money and effort went into on-street giveaways (I never take these), flyers being passed out (I really NEVER EVER take these) and people standing inside of crowded bars attempting to yell the loudest to capture my attention.  The activation that actually did capture my attention was Mophie’s use of St. Bernard’s to bring you phone charging cases.

And all of this effort to reach me made me think through how to get peoples attention, and how important it is to have a crystal clear message when you do get their 3-10 seconds they will give you.

I saw this sign on a garage – and this got my attention!! It was very clear that no matter what day a year it is, I am gonna get towed if I park here.  Noted.

Also, when you think of Texas, the state has a clear brand message – we are the biggest, and the best.  You would be a fool to even think of messing with us.

Some key take aways:

1. Know your audience

If you just thought, “My audience is everyone!” think again.  Unless you are selling OXYGEN, your audience is not everyone.  Get in a room, determine the problem your product solves, and who needs that solution – there you go, you have your audience.

2. What will this group of people respond to?

What are their likes, dislikes, needs, etc – determine what makes them tick.  Present your brand in a way that speaks to these things.

3. Write your message in as few words as possible.

Define your product in seven words or less.  Yes 7.  Capture the essence of it in a clear and concise manner.  Hire a copywriter or a wordsmith if you need to.  Remember – you only have 3-10 seconds to even get them to give you a second look.

4. Boldly proclaim your message in the RIGHT places.

In the case of the painted garage door above, if this message was on a 10 inch street sign to the right or the left of the garage, I would have surely missed it.  They put it right in the exact spot I would want to park if I wanted to drop anything off at that building.  It was to the point, bold, and in the right location for me to receive the message.

5. Once you get their attention, capitalize.

Now what?  Give the audience what they want – a great product that works and is delivered in a delightful manner.  We will talk more about this in the future on the maddjett blog…

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