One of the keys to successful communications is commanding the attention of those watching or listening in doing so without turning them off.

Basic ways to encourage people to pay attention

Thankfully we are mostly passed the days of flashing banner ads and blaring fast talking mindlessly repetitive commercials. It’s not hard to get someone’s attention. You could punch them in the face for example but if you want to inform or persuade them once you have their attention you should do so in a way that makes them not hate you.

Always have news

If your commercials are always informing customers of something that’s important or at least that seems important or interesting that first glance they are more likely to pay attention to.If this is a new communication that doesn’t really say anything the customer didn’t already know well why should they pay attention?

One way to ensure that you always have new information to share is to employ a strategy of what I call trivial innovation, and there are several beer brands that have perfected the strategy.

They don’t actually change the recipe of the beer, the specter of new Coke casts a long shadow over the marketing profession, but they will change almost anything else about the product in order to have some bit of news to crow about in their ads.

Give yourself room for evolution

One last thing to consider as you plan a communication campaign give yourself room for evolution if the campaign actually gain some traction. Even the best-loved ads get tiresome sufficient viewing.

In order to keep people’s attention it’s often necessary to change things up a bit, to refresh the idea. Some campaigns are flexible enough to do this in ways that hold true to the original goals but are still different enough to keep customers engaged and here’s one of the best ways to do this.

Don’t simply create a single piece of communication or even a single set of communications. Instead consider establishing a template for communicating with your target customer. A template that allows you to make changes in ways that make sense this advice holds for all types of communications whether advertising or email communications or direct mail catalogs or PR campaigns.

Develop a campaign theme

Early on you should develop a theme for those cute types of communications.  Establish what is it about the messaging that’s core should remain immutable and what should be free to change over time.

Among print advertisers, Absolut vodka is perhaps the best example of a company doing templates well. For years their print ads featured some visual gimmick on their iconic bottle which took up most of the page.

Could be a bottle made out of flowers or the shadow of the bottle across the town square or a skyscraper shaped like a bottle or ski runs in a mountain that are shaped like the bottle. The formula allowed for endless reinvention.

Almost anything to be photographed or photoshopped to accommodate the Absolute bottle so the ads never got old and they always attracted attention while remaining consistent.

Designing marketing campaigns

Designing and running a marketing campaign can be intimidating, but there is a process to marketing communications just like anything else. The first thing you have to do is make sure you have a goal for this communication.

This is true whether you’re running a Super Bowl ad or something much simpler like passing a flyer, designing a website, sponsoring an event. You should always know what is the problem I am trying to solve with this communication. What I want to change with this?

Of course you need to go into details. Here I just presented some general strategies for marketing campaigns and these are be applicable to any specific communication medium used whether TV or radio or billboards or flyers.