Attention is a currency. Simple as that. The more you have, the bigger the opportunity. Without the attention of other humans your business is not going to get very far. Maximising attention and ensuring clarity of attention are two of the main aims of marketing. Get eyeballs on your brand and make sure your customers recognise that it is your brand and not your competitors.
Now that I have your attention, let’s begin…
Where is your evidence for this assertion you may ask?
Well, currency is a medium for exchange. In exchange for your attention, Mrs. Customer, I will provide you with something of value. I can then benefit from your attention in whatever way you allow me to. None of us is an island. We need the attention of other humans to survive.
The world population is estimated at 7.7 billion. Ish. That is a lot of people, many of whom, certainly in first world countries, are empowered to believe in the individual and that if they can just, somehow make it happen, they can have it all. Everyone of them seeking attention. Too big? OK. The UK population is estimated at 66.96 million. That’s 66.96 billion minds, all of whom are seeking something to satisfy their needs and desires. Still too big? Let’s focus down then. Preston, where we are based, has a population somewhere around 142,000 perhaps a little more. That is easier to comprehend but still 142,000 separate people to influence if you were, say, operating a community pharmacy in Preston.
So the scale of the challenge is pretty big. Your success as a business is partly reliant on attracting as much attention from your target market as possible.
Now consider the most successful companies on the planet. Recent annual research published by BrandZ cite Amazon as taking the lead over Google and Apple for the first time in 12 years. It is now worth a reported 315,505 million dollars. One of the major reasons is the work Amazon have put into their ‘brand ecosystem’. That is the ubiquitous, pervasive nature of the brand and its’ products in our lives. It is part of the fabric of our reality. Not just retail but entertainment, cloud computing, smart devices and payment systems with ease of use, speed and reliability. No wonder. Amazon, Google and Apple all have a huge percentage of our attention across multiple aspects of our lives. They literally live in our hands, watch us, listen to us (contentious?) and go everywhere with us. Now they live in the corner of our room and in our TV and will be in every internet enable device they can, which will be all of them, if we let them. They are very carefully designed and invest mind boggling resources to maximise their share of our attention.
So the big hitters dominate. Your success as a business is reliant on being more interesting, for the right reasons, than everything else, for at least small part of the time.
Aside from that, estimates suggest that we are exposed to around 10,000 adverts a day. How, in the name of all that is decent is any human supposed to split their attention between 10,000 calls for attention and accurately assess their value? They don’t is the answer. We’ve become jaded and immune, ignoring the vast, vast majority of calls for attention. That number doesn’t even take into account paying attention to the things we have and want to do, like eating good food, exercise, sleeping, making sure you try to protect the kids from the onslaught, actually finding time to spend with your partner, friends and family and remembering to feed the pets and house plants so they don’t die.
So the competition is huge and marketers everywhere are constantly trying to break into your awareness. Your success as a business is partly reliant on succeeding in this competition.
People can’t choose to use your pharmacy and then actually act on that choice if they aren’t aware that you exist.
Pretty short mental leap to realise that the pharmacies with the most attention have a better chance of success.
Clarity of attention
So you work hard with a range of sensible, ethical and professional methods that align with your brand values to capture the attention of as many of your target market as possible. You compete with all comers and have some success. You don’t need 100% of your target market to know you exist to hit your business targets anyway, as attractive as that might sound. What now? What to do with that attention? Suddenly the quality of your content might become a consideration. Is it deserving of attention? Is it up to the job? Good thoughts and very relevant but alongside that you need to consider clarity of attention.
Customers, people that is, but we call them customers to strip them of their beauty and unpredictability a little, shop the category first. When they need healthcare, whether it is a prescription only medicine, vaccination, some barrier cream or a healthy heart check, they make a mental list of all of the places they could access that healthcare. This happens almost instantaneously based on what and who they know. They won’t try too hard. They will almost always have a preference, a top runner, in that list as well, based on previous experience and current circumstances.
Now, if you have captured some of their attention in the past you might be in that list. Great. If you’ve done a good job of satisfying their needs and you happen to be on their route for the day or saved in their bookmarks you might be at the top. It would be a real shame if at this point they confused your pharmacy for one of your competitors. It does happen. Don’t think for a second that your customers pay as much attention to your brand as you do. It’s a passing interest at best. They can confuse competing providers especially when they are offering very similar services – like community pharmacies do.
So clarity of attention is important too. Distinctiveness is a term often used. When you have captured that precious attention, make sure that it’s unmistakeable who you are and that they remember that it is your brand that can provide what they need. Clarity stems from experience. Experience stems from the senses. Make sure that you look, behave and act in a unique or at least memorable way and you are getting somewhere. That is branding.
Branding gives you a much higher chance of being in their mental list when considering where to get the healthcare they need.
Healthcare experience meets branding expertise
Get in touch if you need help with your pharmacy brand.