How to get your audience to spend 8 minutes with your brand instead of just 8 seconds

1918 1079 Never Quiet - Atomic London

In a recent study by Ofcom we now spend more time using media devices than we do sleeping, with the average person being exposed to over a thousand messages a day. Messages that we have become immune to, if not resistant to.

At Adweek Europe Dave Trott reminded everyone that 89% of advertising in the UK goes unnoticed. And of the remaining 11%, only 4% are actually liked.

For many brand owners the competition is really tough and brands need to stand out and get noticed to have a prayer of changing behaviour.

We think brands struggle to stand out not because the media landscape is too busy, but because their work is too bland.

When done correctly, branded content can create a new way for brands to engage audiences.

Usually, advertising starts with the product or feature and then finds a creative way to connect it with the audience. But with branded content we do the complete opposite, by starting with the audience first and then finding a way to link the product to it.

A recent campaign for Star Alliance encouraged people to spend 8 minutes with the brand instead of just 8 seconds. Not by banging people over the head with a message, but by treating content like a book that’s hard to put down.

Star Alliance partnered with a Digital Nomad Robert Reed from National Geographic, and challenged him to have 5 unique cultural experiences that would really put him to the test and keeping the audience in suspense about whether he would go through with it.

The role the brand played in this instance was an enabler to these incredible experiences, inspiring people to think about the cultural connections they can make with the worlds largest airline network.

So how can you create content for your brand that captures people’s attention and gets them craving for more? Well it all starts with storytelling. Stories captivate us. It’s the way we are wired, and your customers are no different. Their brains become more active when they hear a story and they can identify and empathize with it.


Firstly, we all know the difference between a good film and a bad one, look how Netflix keep us hooked and wanting more with a cliff-hanger at the end of each episode. Well it’s no different for creating branded content for your brand. People want characters that they can relate to. They want a simple plot that they can follow and they want a great ending.

Think about the emotion you want to create

Storytelling can create so many different feelings. From inspiring people with human endeavour, (like Red Bull Stratos) creating suspense, making people fall in love, or simply making people laugh. There are so many ways to create an emotional connection with your audience. You should always start by thinking about your audience and what they are interested in, instead of starting with your product.

Get your story out there

Great stories will get shared and passed on if they are seeded in the right places. In the case of Atomic’s ‘Connecting Cultures’ series, it was designed for in-flight entertainment as well as featuring in National Geographic channels, where Star Alliance’s audience already enjoy spending time.

So next time when planning your branded content campaign, think about how, where, and in which channel your audience will be exposed to your story.


About the author:

Before starting Atomic, Guy was Group CD at DDB London, Executive CD at RMG Connect, JWT London’s digital agency and a CD at Saatchi & Saatchi X, creating award-winning integrated campaigns for Volkswagen, Virgin Media, HSBC, Tourism Australia and Vodafone.

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