I am currently reading the Invisible Gorilla, an experiment turned into a book on selective attention span that shows just how much information we filter out everyday without even realizing. For example, I recently moved to a new apartment and survived a week without internet connection and my beloved smart phone, during which I obliviously passed by numerous newspaper stands as I attempted to read Google News Alerts by squinting at the tiny screen of a $30 flip phone (be grateful that I do not drive).
In this era of information bombardment and the increasing power of customization, it is hard to generate sufficient buzz to capture our audience’s attention. While we don’t need to all wear meat dresses to put ourselves out there, we can learn from Lady Gaga that we shouldn’t be afraid to be innovative and creative, especially since there are numerous channels for self-expression: YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr. Yet we must be really careful to distinguish ourselves from junk.
Sometimes we concentrate too much on producing ideas that we forget to listen. Swedish software technology and design company TAT created the Open Innovation campaign where they asked the public to share ideas and thoughts on new products. The idea is similar to Pepsi’s Refresh Project, which generated more buzz during the Super Bowl than some companies which invested thousands of dollars in advertising.
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, a U.K. provider of platforms for leading expert to share new ideas on contemporary issues for example, successfully utilized YouTube and animation to explain their ideas. It is a perfect medium and an engaging method for visual learners like me.
The war on mind-share and thought leadership is a vicious one, but we don’t need to smell like blood and raw meat to win it.