Can the brain multi-task? That's an interesting thought, especially as we’re coursing through a highly busy and preoccupied world. Everyone’s multi-tasking nowadays, and people have seemingly succumbed more to the movement during the smartphone age. Therefore, the more interesting question to ask is: "are people made for multi-tasking?" Science suggests that multi-tasking and the brain have an inverse relationship. We only cultivate productivity when we create momentum. One of the harsh effects of multitasking is we impede this momentum when bouncing from one task to another. That's the reason Joe Kraus believes that we live in a culture of distraction. Before smartphones took over the world, we used the internet 5 times a day on average. Now, that number blew up to more than 500 percent, at 27 times a day. This distracted multi-tasking culture became a cause for worry for Joe Kraus. Who's Joe Kraus, you say? Well, he founded excite.com, JotSpot, and DigitalConsumer.org. He was a partner at Google Ventures, has investments on Linkedin, and is the current President of Lime. In other words, a heckuva' successful entrepreneur, yet he despises all of this connectivity. This culture of multi-tasking meant people are becoming busier and more distracted, but not in any way more productive. That poses problems, especially for businesses, and we’ll tell you why. Here, we'll look into multi-tasking and the brain, and more importantly, how this culture of distraction affects marketing and advertising. Keep reading.
Our Brain vs the Internet
I’m sure you’ve realized by now that the human brain is far less advanced in processing information than computers…Unlike rigs boasting powerful 8-core chipsets that can handle 16 simultaneous processes at once, our brains can only handle one. Neuropsychologists stress that [humans are hard-wired to be monotaskers](https://health.clevelandclinic.org/science-clear-multitasking-doesnt-work/#:~:text=One study found that just, once aren't actually that.). It's how our brain gets things done. When people say they're engaged in a multi-tasking sesh, they are simply doing different actions in quick succession. You know, like 15 minutes of work here, another 5 to talk to colleagues, and 30 scrolling through social media. In other words, people are simply task-switching. You'll notice it even in today's era. How many people within your Realm of Association are active on social media during supposedly work hours? Exactly. DataReportal revealed that social media's share of total online time jumped from 26.3 percent to 35.2 percent in 9 years. Mobile devices' share of total internet time also grew from 27.3 percent in 2013 to 53.5 percent in 2021. Brain multi-tasking is not a real thing. It's a lie we tell ourselves to mask how distracted we really are. At least computers can maintain and switch through an abundant amount of tabs without crashing. Still, even computers stutter when handling data beyond their capacity, how much more do our brains? That said, does multitasking damage your brain? The answer is even more concerning because UK brain research on multi-tasking showed that it makes people mentally unbalanced. Multi-tasking reduces a person’s mental capacity by an average of 10 points on IQ tests. So, yes. Multi-tasking is cognitively damaging and worse, businesses will suffer from this emerging culture of distraction. You want advertising that captivates your audience’s distracted thoughts to help get your message across. Not all marketers can do that, but Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads® can. Book a call.
The Culture of Distraction (Multi-tasking)
A single Google search reveals the many articles on multi-tasking boasting both the positives and negatives of it. One of the most interesting I've read is the column by Inc. on multi-tasking. They said the effect of multitasking on the brain is like missing a night's sleep. While, for the men, they described it as affecting the brain 3 times more than the effect of smoking weed. That results in 40 percent less efficiency with our daily tasks. Still, there's a special group of people who can execute multi-tasking more effectively than the rest of us. According to APA PsycNet, only 2.5 percent of people can multitask (Plot twist: They're androids). The point is that: there's only a fraction of individuals who can cope with the culture of distraction. Everyone else will inevitably suffer the ramifications of our poor choices. Here's the interesting bit. The more people dwell on the delusion that we're capable of multitasking, the worse they get at it.
“When you practice distraction, which is what multi-tasking really is, you’re training your brain to pay attention to distracting things." — Roy H. Williams
Once distraction becomes a lifestyle, which is what's happening today, people will struggle to focus on more important tasks. You get less done. You throw away money. You waste a non-renewable resource, which is time. In the context of business advertising, this is a huge issue. You want eyes focused on your business but distractions keep pulling them away. If you can't hold people’s attention, how can you get your message across? How will you be able to sell anything? The answer is, you won't and there's nothing we could do to alter our customers' habits. What we could do is cope with reality and find ways to make our message clear to a distracted audience. We'll teach you how below.
What Does our Culture of Distraction Mean to Marketers?
What multi-tasking did to the brain produced a strong ripple effect that has bred a generation of easily distracted individuals. Wherever you go, you'll see people lost in a trance as they scroll through their feeds. This culture of distraction has transcended the realms of business, and this affects marketers in 5 ways:
1. Getting attention is one thing. Holding it is another.
The multitasking brain is less able to focus. This has made it harder for marketers to get people's attention in the first place. In a world where we're bombarded with 4 thousand -10 thousand marketing messages a day, is problematic. It's become increasingly harder for businesses to cut through the noise and reach their target audience. You want to make your advertising as attractive as possible. Make sure you're producing content that's irresistible and hard to look away from. Do you know what advertisements are hardest to resist? Those that tell a story. Wizard of Ads® can craft those for you if you book a call.
2. The volume of information gushing toward your customer is like a fire hose aimed at a teacup.
Every business venture and each solution you're selling is composed of tons of valuable information. It can be tempting to bombard your audiences with information-dense advertising to make them see the incredible value you offer. We get it. But that's not how advertising works, especially today. Nitpick the best value from your solutions and transform them into bite-sized, easily digestible messages. Fill their teacup to the brim.
3. Advertising must embrace a Big Idea or it will be ignored.
David Ogilvy once said that the most creative, innovative, revolutionary ideas (big ideas) come when we unhook our deductive reasoning. Ads made from big ideas captivate people’s attention and linger in their memories longer. That said, keep stuffing your unconscious mind with facts. Then unplug from all rationality as you immerse in creative activities. See the floodgates of your right brain open and big ideas flow through.
"Big Ideas don’t arise from normalcy. Big Ideas are products of audacity. The unmitigated gall of a big idea requires that you be a bit of an outsider. Otherwise, you will never walk the path where it can be found." — Roy H. Williams
4. Attention can be held only by moving rapidly from Big Idea to Big Idea to Big Idea.
Big ideas are the key to capturing and holding your audience's attention. A barrage of advertising forged from big ideas is the secret to keeping your market's eyes on you. Through big ideas, you unmake the culture of distraction that multi-tasking instilled in society.
5. Never in history have we crammed bigger thoughts into fewer words.
It's no secret that people's attention spans have been on the down low in recent years. People are looking to digest information in the quickest and most non-intrusive way possible. That could be a problem. For instance, feature a 60-second ad and see your audience itching to skip the video. Alternatively, create a quick 5-second ad and it goes over your market's head. The best ads strike the perfect balance between word count and ad length. Choosing the right words is also essential.
“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.” — David Ogilvy
You want your brain to be an endless supply of big ideas. That’s the only way to counteract the culture of distractions we’ve all helped create. Stuff your brain with information and then unhook deductive reasoning. You’ll see the facts and figures take an artistic form. Big ideas = great advertising. If you want your advertising to be filled with big ideas, choose the marketers that don’t multitask. We happen to be those people. We’ll relentlessly pursue your business success and won’t stop until we achieve it. Interested? Book a call.