Being remembered in a world of disposable experiences

Being remembered in a world of disposable experiences
Written by Edward Fraser

Our brains are being reprogrammed. In fact, the way in which we think has already completely shifted.     

Whether it’s skim reading, endlessly scrolling through websites or freely skipping through songs on Spotify like some kind of intro-thirsty maniac, we are quickly becoming a society accustomed to disposable experiences.    

Scarily, our average attention span is now eight seconds, one second less than a goldfish.

Information overload

One of the main causes of this is digital information overload. Brands, devices and marketers are snatching our attention at every junction with large varieties of competing content, the volume of which tripled on the internet between 2011 and 2013.

I’m not sure that being peppered with meaningless advertising, posts, images and videos is enjoyable for anyone. If it were a human shouting and interrupting you with unwanted information, trying to take your money, you’d steer clear. 

Many will say, “I’m fine with it. It takes time to think deeply about information, so it’s easier to move on to the next best thing to keep me interested. You’re just lucky I’m taking the time to read this.”

First off, I thank you for your time. Secondly, I hope that this is not a disposable experience, but one you take away and use.

Question and point

Would Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon have been so successful if it were to be released today? I’m not so sure it would. I’d speculate that no one would’ve heard of it.

In 1973, people invested in that album. They spent around £4 to buy a well-crafted piece of music, and carefully placed a needle in the right place before waiting beyond 5 seconds of crackle to experience their rewards.  

Ultimately, that experience was so great that the album now transcends generations and, still, remains one of the most expansive artistic creations of all time. At least, that’s what its 45 million owners would affirm.

So, here’s a worrying thought. Are our brains being reprogrammed to consume content in a way that means we’re missing out on our generation’s Dark Side of the Moon?

A question you might expect from your Dad, not a sub-30 marketer.

However, it’s a thought that should mean as much to business as it does culturally. Are organisations missing out on unfathomed growth opportunities by trading disposable experiences with their customers? I suspect many are.  

Throw-away experiences for all!

Switching flicking, knee-jerk solutions to business problems are becoming commonplace – mimicking the frantic online foot tapping of their audiences.

This is prevalent nowhere more so than in marketing.

Agencies are charging premiums to create content and business assets that exist for only a moment before they’re forgotten. Organisations employ social media execs to plug gaps rather than open doors, or write blogs because they simply must.   

With this in mind, the focus of marketers – and the businesses that want to stand out – must be to provide people with experiences that effect and endure. Let your marketing leave a legacy not a mark.

At least that’s what Pink Floyd would probably tell you. 

Oh, and here’s proof and point. Big marketing blunders as a result of short term solutions.

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