Competing for Attention: a note from Microsoft's Senior Marketing Communications Designer

The following excerpt is from Geoffrey Colon, Senior Marketing Communications Designer at Microsoft. A portion of it first appeared in our 2018 Trends Report.

“Information overload takes many forms: data pollution, share bait, click bait, manipulated outrage and participatory propaganda.

Attention is now treated like a commodity more than a human emotion. This opens up citizens to fake outrage which helps spread information even though many think their protest is helpful it is harmful. It generates more attention to certain personalities or media sites who thrive off the traffic revenue.

What this means for business is when they think of who their competition is they wrongly assume it is other businesses. That was the case in a read-only era with limited media channels but in our read/write/remix world everyone is now competition.

Competition for your attention.

This means as a business you must design for education and partnership in collaboration with your customers. To simply sell? It’s a road to nowhere. Why? Because there’s millions of others vying for your attention and everyone is selling. However, few are truly leading.

Those that lead in this era will be those who differentiate themselves from everybody else. In the past a fast follower could survive because it could draft off a market leader and swallow everyone else who didn’t like the market leader. Now there are hundreds of fast followers and thus it is necessary to not be fast and look the same as everyone else but slow and different.

Cheap/Fast/Good. You can only be two but not all three simultaneously. So if you’re fast and cheap, you’re rarely good and word of mouth will end you.

There’s a slow attention movement coming and if you are part of it, you will win.

Because when everyone is fast and flashy, the slow and immersive and caring amongst us draw attention for the right reasons.

Because they care about you, the customer, not themselves, the company.

The customer’s success is your success. Because it drives the right attention, not simply attention for attention’s sake.”

— Geoffrey Colon

You can learn more about Geoffrey Colon at

Read The 2018 Trends Report

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