BY CHRIS FOSTER – Instant gratification gets a bad rap. It’s seen as less serious and lacking the perceived virtue of the gratification that follows hard work. Good things, the saying goes, take time. Generational attitudes play their part.
It is the young who are seen as impatient, people who won’t wait for anything. If you don’t have their attention in a second, they’ll move on to something else. Adding insult to injury, their attention is hardly exclusive. It’s them – and their live feeds on mobile phones, tablets, computer and TV. There’s no time to slow down and smell the roses in the digital space.
But most people, not just the young, expect things to be done in the instant, and businesses have been quick to capitalize on our growing need for speed: Faster shipping, streaming, 24/7 access, on-call assistance, the answer-my-request-now culture.
Today, most people want to feel the shot of satisfaction in 30 seconds or less. We’re less willing to wait until after 500 pages to get to the gratification of finishing. This explains the phenomenal success of games like Candy Crush where people are so determined to get to the next moment that they are willing to pay for it.
However, let’s change the conversation from the human behavior surrounding instant gratification – which has been commented on extensively – and look at the mystery that is the powerful combination of time and emotion.
A famous moment was written by the French writer Marcel Proust in his book Remembrance of Things Past. Many of you will have read about when Proust took a bite of a madeleine (a small cake), sipped his tea and had an extraordinary experience that he described as having the same effect as love. He wrote that the experience was not in him, it was not the cake itself, but it washim. Proust then tried to replicate the moment with another bite but finds that “the potion is losing its magic”.
In Proust’s description we learn two things. First, moments are filled with possibility and can conjure powerful feelings that incite action. Secondly, from a business perspective, what is important in a moment is to extend the consumer experience beyond product, beyond that first bite.
We need to take the opportunity that is time and create human moments, such as Proust experienced. Then, we provide people the means to connect with others to share what the Nobel prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahnemann calls the “experiencing self” and the “remembering self”.
This will create what I call the ‘winning moment’, where experience in the moment and memory coalesce to engender Proust’s love. Every moment is a brand opportunity. And winning moments with emotion leads to sharing. It’s where ‘Likes’, Instagram uploads and tweets live.
It’s in this timeframe where people declare their love for our client’s brands and forward our work to their closest 100 friends and acquaintances. You have heard this before: “Reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action”. An instance of gratification is all it takes to gain unprecedented momentum and we have not a moment to lose.
How do we do this?
Go straight for the heart. A study from UMass Amherst looked at the viewing habits of 6.7 million internet users to learn how long people were willing to wait for a video to load. The result? Two seconds before they started looking away; five seconds and you’ve lost a quarter of viewers; 10 seconds and you’re left with half the original audience. If you appreciate how much can be gained and lost in a moment, you’ll start to use time differently. We have seconds to connect with our audiences. Ask, what is the quickest way to the heart?
Capture the action. What can be achieved in a moment? Visit One Second on the Internet now and experience it for yourself. Are our activations contributing to action in the moment? Are our clients getting a slice of the thousands of tweets, Likes, and shares happening every second of every day?
What’s next? We seek to create and grow emotional relationships with people, and all good relationships are developed over time. As soon as the moment passes, we need to ask ourselves what the next opportunity of engagement looks like. Where are we at with our consumers? How can we continue to win trust and attention? We do so by winning the moment to create memories that our customers share with new customers.