Just put your observing hat on and have a thorough look around. It doesn’t matter if you are at a workplace, a theatre, at home, a beach, a highway or at any civilized place. Just ensure one focused glance around and you will be met by multiple ads trying to get a piece of your mind. And with so many mediums of advertising, you won’t be spared even for a moment.
Take a jaunt across the street and you see hoardings, get into public transport and you see vehicular ads, watch TV and you will be bombarded with TVCs, or just close yourself in a room- you still have your mobile flashing an ad! Hasn’t contemporary advertising been all about noise and omnipresence?
Maybe. But is it effective?
Take off your observing hat and you get your answer. How many of the ads you saw really intrigued you? Or at least stayed with your memory? The fact is that you are exposed to 5000 ads in a day and hardly 100 get noticed! That’s 2% attention to content. And with increasing ad exposure, the attention span of your potential customer is decreasing by the day.
An ad loaded with things to say never speaks; because a potential customer gives you a very small attention window. So the more your ad talks, more will it be perceived as noise and will deliver no message at all. To make a difference, you need to convey a message in the least possible words or elements.
The Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle states that 80% of all effects are generated by 20% of causes. Simply put, 20% of what you do brings 80% of what you get. It’s called the 80-20 rule. And if you wear the observing hat again, you will see that the 80-20 is everywhere.
Vilfredo Pareto observed 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of Italians. Roughly-
80% of pollution originates from 20% of all factories
80% of the results are generated by 20% of employees
80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals!
Just have the right perspective and you see that this pattern is in everything!
Pareto Principle in Communication
When you glance at an ad, you don’t see the entire thing. It’s just few elements that fall in your vision. One can estimate that as 20% of the entire ad. So, if you are able to convey your message using any element in that space, you make an impression. This impact is what communication or advertising is all about. Organizations pay millions to get this impression.
You might wonder, what about the remaining 80% of the ad? Isn’t that important? Well, it is! But this major chunk is all about details. The 20% catches wavering attention, and then the 80% elucidates your message. So if you can’t captivate the potential customer with the 20%, the 80% is of no use.
In a larger dimension, it is predicted that 20% of communication efforts generate 80% of the results. How does that happen? Well, simply make a list and lump in 20% of your top paying clients together. What you find is that, those 20% contribute to 80% of your overall revenue!
Lump in 20% of your top tax payers and you see that they pay 80% tax of the state! The examples are endless. The percentage may vary in slight proportions, but the pattern remains that same- few causes, many effects!
How can it change communication?
The greatest ads of all time are successful because of this principle. They stood out because 20% of their elements penetrated through the viewer’s mind, garnering 80% effects.
The Pareto Principle can transform communication in a way that its effectiveness multiplies manifold. In a broader perspective, the 80-20 rule eggs advertisers to produce ads that capture attention in a shorter time span. Which transitions to lesser talks and more deliverables. It changes an ad from having too much to say to having an appeal, an impact that stays!
Just look at your list and sense a pattern, there’s a lot you can do with just 20% of what you have!