Have you noticed we’re living in a world of short attention spans and constant distractions? But maybe you were busy checking email or Facebook and didn’t notice.
Distraction and the pull of novelty are so rampant now that a recent Microsoft study found people have an average attention span of 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in the early 2000s when cell phones first began absorbing a tidy percentage of our attentional resources.
While our 21st century brains are becoming more and more are addicted to novelty and distraction, our yearning for the things that are familiar and predictable has grown as well. A recognizable world is a safe world, and familiar situations provide a sense of security.
We process experience more easily when it’s something we’ve encountered before. Is it poison or food? An enemy or an ally? A good place for shelter or a dangerous risk? As social psychologist Robert Zajonc tells it, ‘If it is familiar, it has not eaten you…yet.’
And that’s a part of the reason why people are hesitant to buy “Brand X.” That’s also why many take the same route to work every day (even when it may not be the shortest way to go). And that’s a major reason we stick with the same vendors and products. Brand loyalty makes us feel more secure.
What about your business? Are you massaging your clients with the warm hand of the familiar? Consistent and reoccurring marketing messages – ads, emails, signage, etc. – make your brand familiar and therefore more trusted.
Everything becomes more memorable when it’s familiar. Familiarity creates a kind of top-of-the-mind awareness. Your customers probably know the brand of toothpaste in their bathroom, but might be hard pressed to remember the name of their insurance company.
If you want to be appreciated as the go-to agent when your clients have a need for assistance, it serves you well to make your agency and yourself as familiar as possible.
- Having the same individuals welcoming people to your agency – either on the phone or at the reception desk – is another way to leverage familiarity’s potential.
- Consider the same signage, logo, colors, and all the other elements that combine to create your company’s visual identity…
- In prospecting you’re likely to get a more receptive response when you leverage the power of the familiar, mentioning previous contacts at target companies by name:
Hi. Bill Johnson in bookkeeping told me you’re the person at Aster HVAC who’s in charge of the business insurance. Do I have that right?
People like freshness, innovation, and shiny new things. But the business of trust grows out of the comfort of the familiar. It’s that memorable brand identity that tells people they can count on you to deliver the satisfaction they’ve grown to expect.