Why do we get hooked so easily by questions?
We see headlines like, "What does your eye color say about you?” and instantly feel the need to click to learn more. The answer: Curiosity!
Once piqued, it becomes a relentless force that must be satisfied. A natural instinct that stimulates and drives behavior and relationships. But where does this instinct come from and what motivates us to be inquisitive? Author Daniel Pink points to "the human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things and to do better by ourselves and our world.”
How can brands use these ideas of autonomy, mastery, purpose and curiosity to build consumer engagement?
Think back to those literary devices they made you learn in high school. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools used to create brand engagement because it creates an environment in which the storyteller has full control. With the ability to spin the story, create drama and evoke emotion, storytelling can wrap a consumer up and have them instantly fixated with your brand.
If you’ve ever watched ten episodes of "Law & Order” in one day, you’ll know what we mean. Storytelling has prompted advertising agencies to move away from the "gone in sixty seconds” spoof to a narrative that is drawn out. This creates a richer, more engaging interaction that helps build brand ambassadors along the way.
The digital age makes opportunities to ignite curiosity that much easier. The recent viral Coca-Cola campaign featuring a bottle designed to initiate conversation amongst twenty-somethings was just enough to make waves. The audience was hooked into curiosity by the mysterious realm that is a campus coke machine, and it worked wonders. Not only is this a great example of how curiosity can motivate people to try new things and engage with a brand, but also tells a story that can be spun and spun again into a carbonation love affair.
Brands that provoke, foster suspense and ask questions produce powerful and long lasting consumer experiences. After all – "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?” has kept Tootsie Roll Pops at the top of consumers’ minds for years.
Social media is probably the best outlet in which to use this cognitive ploy cleverly. From simple polls "Where should you retire?” to more complex hooks – "Which founding father is your soul mate?” (This is real and can be found here) curiosity inspires content creation and brand development.
While curiosity can be a limitless opportunity to motivate your consumers to interact with your brands, don’t lose sight of your brand basics. Remember to dig deeper into how your brand works and what makes your company tick. Ask questions, be creative and bring big ideas to life – but do so in a way that keeps consumers coming back for more.