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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What could this post possibly be about? I ain't tellin'

The communication strategy of today's post is related to the confusing and one might say... MYSTERIOUS title of this post.  An effective way of keeping people's attention is utilizing this communication concept.  One can use it to grab people's attention by accessing their sense of curiosity.  It's actually an ingenious, and I would go as far as to say, a manipulative method of grabbing your audience's attention because it's also utilized in the dating world.  Both sexes use this tactic to grab and hold the attention of the opposite sex.

I won't drag it out any further, the key is to create a MYSTERY for your audience.  People are generally curious about what happens next or what the mystery is about.  "What will happen next? How will it turn out? We want to answer these questions, and that desire keeps us interested."  This might be one of the main reasons why people watch bad movies.  I've found myself watching terrible monster movies because I wanted to see how the filmmakers designed the mysterious creature that they hadn't been revealing the whole movie.  The creature keeps taking victims but the viewer can never get a full glimpse of it. The movie can be awful but the curious person is still watching because he wants to get a good glimpse of the creature before deciding to give up and move on.  For instance, as I was writing this post, I noticed an advertisement for a movie I do not care for on the side bar of my facebook homepage.  The name of the movie is "Chronicle."  The ad reads: "Like the movie page to get access to the brand new trailer."  The movie looks unimpressive and I am most likely not going to watch it.  But, I was very tempted to visit the page and "like" it so I could see what is so special about this new trailer.  The advertiser used my sense of curiosity and withheld information from me in hopes of dragging me into the page.  It almost worked on me and I imagine it probably works on many people that see that ad.

This sense of curiosity is related to a similar concept.  When we encounter mysteries, we create "gaps" in our knowledge.  This is a concept that was first described by the behavioral economist George Loewenstein.  "When we want to know something but don't, it's like having an itch that we need to scratch."  We strive to end the mystery and fill in the gap.  In the process, we have effectively been dragged into the author's message.  We are now aware of our ignorance of a specific piece of knowledge and there is a gap in our understanding.  We realize that someone else is aware of something that we aren't.  We start forming ideas on what the gap might be and as a result, become more invested in the author's message.  We want to find out what the mystery is about so we can confirm if our guess was correct.

Let's apply this theory to an energy conservation example.  You are trying to market an energy-conserving product.  Here is an example of how you can use mystery to gain your audience's attention: "What fits in the palm of your hand, changes colors, and helps you conserve energy?"  You hook your audience in with the mystery then reveal the product.  The product in this case is called the "Ambient Energy Orb."  The energy orb
"changes color to inform  motivated users when their conservation efforts are particularly rewarded.  With the Energy Orb, you can do your part to fully participate in critical demand periods and help reduce the negative effects of electrical supply shortages."
If you had simply presented the product from the beginning without a sense of mystery, you might not have had the same level of interest.  You would not have created any gaps in people's knowledge and utilized their sense of curiosity.

When it doubt, start gettin' mysterious.


Source: http://green.thefuntimesguide.com/files/energy-orb-thumb-485x257-16092.jpg
Quote sources:
http://www.ambientdevices.com/cat/orb/PGE.html
http://www.heathbrothers.com/madetostick/

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