The New Rules of Engagement

In a world of ever-changing tech, it may seem that audiences are somehow unpredictable. New technologies such as virtual, augmented or whatever buzz word is popping these days are creating new immersive experiences that shock and awe. Tech has transformed nearly every aspect of society and our daily lives, and we rarely stop to compare our daily life routines to 10 years ago. We now stream our music and entertainment, shop online, order food and taxis off an app and share what were once private photos and videos online for the entire world to see. There is no doubt that products and services will continue to change over the next 20 years.

Luckily for us, human behavior is a lot more predictable. We’re still able to take the fundamentals of what makes a human tick and use that to grab their attention. Clickbait is a perfect example of that. Headlines like “You Won’t Believe What Happened Next” or “20 Signs You’re Actually a...” will continue to work across a multitude of platforms because of their intrigue.

Although clickbait does a great job of piquing interest, it usually falls short on the other two crucial fundamentals of retaining attention: Engagement and credibility. These are the top three things I believe will keep audiences coming back for more.

When it comes to engagement, the Middle East is surprisingly ahead of everyone else. I know this might sound shocking, but here are a few facts that will make you think twice. Kuwait has the highest penetration of Instagram users in the world. Saudi Arabia is responsible for 92 percent of the world’s Arabic tweets. The content they consume daily is created locally. Clearly, content creators on social media understand how to keep their audiences engaged here.

The last pillar is credibility. At Edelman we have worked hard for years to understand how it is gained, retained and lost. We believed in its importance so strongly that we created the Edelman Trust Barometer, which is now widely used by businesses and organizations around the world.

The audience of the future is becoming smarter and more intuitive. You can’t fool them. They know how things work and how to dig up whatever information they need. To help business solve its problems, creative marketers, researchers and technology experts need to come together to create interesting, engaging and credible content.

Richard El Ayache is a senior art director, Edelman Dubai.

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

linkedin