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Earning attention is better than paying for it

Attention is one of the most expensive commodities in today's world and brands that have it are the ones that get more ears and eyeballs than their competition, maybe not always for the right reasons. But contrary to what has been going on for decades in the past, attention is no longer just a commodity that can be bought by the big players by throwing big money for prime TV commercial slots and premium newspaper advertising. In today’s digital age where everything is connected, social media rules the roost and content is available in abundance, it is extremely difficult to amass attention. Which is why some companies have developed clever and memorable ways to showcase their brands without being too obvious. It is an absolute gift which very few brands practice today.

So here are a few things brands can do to e

arn the attention and trust of their customers: # Work on creating original content Nobody wants to be interrupted anymore. Experts are forecasting that in the near future, customers are more likely to buy products and services that they see as part of their daily ecosystem like for instance on their social media feeds or on their smartphone web browsers. And they will be able to buy products that they like by interacting with the media they consume which is a far cry from the interruptive (and sometimes borderline harassment based) techniques that marketers practice today. By creating original content and posting it on their blogs or other social media, brands can not only create experiences that their users can identify with but can also position themselves as industry leaders in their particular field. This in the long run results in existing customers and prospects having more confidence in the brand and further results in sales. # Partner with like minded businesses and influencers Instead of paying huge sums of money on advertising which more and more people are getting skeptical about, it makes more sense to get into partnerships with businesses that share your business demographic. By co-creating content that both your followers and your partner's followers are interested in, you will start appealing to each other's demographic ( if your content is good) and you can start working on creating a bigger community with which you can engage with. One big let-down is ego. Yes, you read that right – ego. A lot of the big brands nowadays refuse to enter partnerships think they are invincible, and nobody can beat them. The problem is that while nobody may be able to beat them at this time, the brand ends up alienating itself from the industry and if things aren’t in their favor, they completely lose the trust of the consumer. As long as you do you research right and share the same values albeit different goals whether it is a collaborative partner, a content creator or influencer, you are on the right track and the content that you co-create will only benefit you in more ways you can imagine. # Get more involved with local communities. It really surprises me how brands not just in the Middle East but the world over don't get that marketing today is not about paid attention anymore and people are tired of being interrupted with things they aren't interested in or not ready for. And if brands want to make a good impression on their existing customers and prospects, they need to participate in the dialogues and be a part of their communities. Take social media for example, I rarely see brands responding to comments on their social media feeds with empathy, they just stick to answering questions and don't thank customers for their purchase or even for their compliments let alone scouring the web for comments that refer to the brand and comment on then to drive some interest to their pages or feeds. Social media is all about networking and making delightful conversations. Just bragging about yourself or your product is simply akin to a sleezy used car or insurance salesman trying to oversell and while you make a few sales happen using this technique, in the long run you will only end up hurting your brand. I can already feel some CMOs and even some CEO and CFOs cringing as (if) they read this but just like you feel a sense of accomplishment when you earn something by hard work instead of having someone just give it to you, earning the attention and hopefully the trust of your customer will ultimately help your brand in more ways than you can imagine. At the end of the day it comes down to just one thing – marketing is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Which gives me a good idea for my next article. Watch out! 

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