A man goes to the movies to see a movie recommended by a friend. Surprised to find that friend on the seat next to his, he asks: You were the one who recommended this movie to me. Haven’t you already seen it? The friend replies: Yes, I have. But I returned hoping to see the murder scene on the movie poster. Because once the train goes through the tunnel, the scene changes and I was hoping maybe it would be delayed this time so I could see the murder…

On social media posts, I see some image on the first second and once I click on it, I see nothing about that first image. This is simply fraud aimed at getting the users curious and click! Of course, the opposite is true, too. Many posts lack a well-selected cover image. This also deserves a no-click attitude. What happens is all that effort and money spent on communication goes to waste. It is hard to tell when a consumer who experiences this would give them a second chance…

This is what Brendan Kane talks about in his book, Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World… He describes the most effective strategies to generate new opportunities, innovate and scale our business, and create a compelling brand -both online and offline- in the new online world we live in.

On digital platforms, over sixty billion messages are shared every day and the average person is exposed to four thousand to ten thousand ads a day. This stimulus bombardment changes our ways of online and offline communication and content marketing. Studies demonstrate we have less than three seconds to catch someone’s attention. If we wish to successfully boost brand recognition and growth, we need to be able to catch the attention of audiences rapidly, efficiently, and consistently in such a short time slot.

The main idea of Brendan Kane’s book is: “Today’s consumers are exposed to so much information that you need to immediately catch their attention. Your brand’s or business’ first contact with the world takes place on social media. Every minute 147 thousand photos are uploaded, 54 thousand links are shared, and 317 thousand status updates are made on Facebook, with over 95 million posts shared on Instagram and one billion hours of content watched on YouTube every day. It is a miracle for a brand to be noticed among so many alternatives.”

Erick Brownstein, the president and head of strategy at the digital content creator Shareability, said: “Now there is not only more content but also better content. You have to compete for a limited amount of time and attention. Many messages just get lost amid all this distraction.”

If you want your brand or business to be noticed by people in online or offline communication, you have to master the art of getting attention, that is, you need to think about the types of stories and how you will tell them in connection with a perspective that prioritizes social media and the digital in your storytelling process. If you do this, your messages become worthy of being followed by the audience in this new world.

The truth is that you have only 3 seconds or less. If you fail to catch attention within the first three seconds or any short amount of time you spend with people, you cannot draw attention to the rest of your story, products, or services. That is a “Hook Point” right there! We need to add a Hook Point that will immediately get the attention of our potential customers and differentiate us from the crowd right away to everything we publish online. A brand that knows how to use Hook Points properly ensures more effective communication. Everyone in the world could be your potential follower but making a real difference is only possible if you know how to communicate with them and can make an impact on them.

But, what is a hook point?

A hook may be a combination of some or all of the following elements: 1-Texts, for example, a sentence, headline, or scribble, 2-Insights, such as statistics, a professional perspective, or a thought, 3– Concepts/ideas, or formats, like a picture or a video, 4– Personalities or performances, for example, music, sports, acting, vocal harmony, 5- Product/service.

The hook can be used online and/or offline to draw the attention of an audience as quickly as possible. It helps us create new ideas, launch our products with success, gain a high number of followers, obtain a substantial increase in income, perform effective brand communication, and gain customers. 

A hook can be: 1– Unique Selling Proposition (USP), 2-Tagline, 3-Mission statement.

USP is the unique advantage that makes a company, service, product, or brand stand out among its competitors. A tagline is a short and catchy expression used throughout your marketing process. It expresses the main emotion or feeling you want people to associate with your brand. Mission statements comprise the values of a company; they are the purpose of a brand.

What does Nike as a brand use as a hook?

Here is an example of how a brand’s hook may be something other than its USP, slogan, mission, or purpose: Nike’s tagline is “Just Do lt,” its shoes are its USP, its mission is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” and its purpose is “to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities, and an equal playing field for all.” None of these elements reflect Nike’s hooks. The brand’s true attention-grabbing hooks are the famous athletes they sponsor, like LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Hart, and Michael Jordan.

It is important to maintain authenticity when choosing hooks. You can’t tell people a story they have heard hundreds of times before; they get bored and remain unresponsive. The whole purpose of a hook is to help a brand or product to stand out. Thus, it requires us to think about why they are unique and entirely different from all others in the same field. We need to make an effort to come up with extraordinary ideas rather than replicating the hooks everyone creates. The author describes this as a magic method that will ensure long-term brand awareness and development.

Copywriter Craig Clemens explains that the process of creating hooks is different for each company and product because they are all unique. But he mentions a basic formula to be used as a starting point, which is a simple if/then formula: The problems or needs of potential customers should be placed after the “if” and the solutions to them after the “then.” For example, you could say “If you’re looking to improve your golf game by the next time you set foot on the golf course, then pay close attention to the four tips I’ll share with you shortly.”

People love buying things but hate being sold things and when they feel you’re trying to sell them something, they draw back. Instead, you should remain customer-focused. If you give customers what they want, this meets their needs, and, in turn, yours.

Then, the author talks about the ways of creating an effective hook:

1)     Properties of a successful hook:

·       Uses as few words as possible.

·       Serves your true identity and purpose as a brand. If you have created a hook that people can’t associate with, it will look like clickbait and won’t be authentic.

·       Makes people think differently and subverts expectations.

·       Is offered simply and understandably, in a way that doesn’t require people to overthink.

·       Involves an element of curiosity that leads viewers to learn or see more.

·       Stands out with its originality. If you have seen the hook you created used elsewhere, it probably won’t work.

·       Links a common/relatable element in a way that is unique and appealing to your viewers.

·       Must be quickly graspable. You need to make sure your hook can be understood within three seconds at most.

·       Offers a solution to the problems of your target audience.

2)     Developing a successful hook:

·       This is a process. The perfect hook isn’t usually created at first take.

·       If possible, create 50 to 100 potential concepts.

·       Keep working on ideas.

·       The hook does not sell a product or service; it just needs to ensure that potential customers notice you.

·       Work toward your target audience. You have to determine what could capture their attention.

·       A hook may not be solely made of words. It could be any concept. For example, Anthony Vincent, the creator of the YouTube channel “Ten Second Songs,” adapts famous songs to different music styles every ten seconds.  

·       Be aware that a hook is usually different than a tagline or a USP.

·       Remember that the hook is not the same as the brand name. Hooks stir people by drawing their attention to brands, products, services, or values.  

·       A hook must capture attention above all else.

·       Eliminate down to the best three options from a long list when creating a hook. Then, repeat until you are left with one.

·       Get inspiration by going to a magazine stall or a bookshop, surveying social media, or making GOYA visits to other places where there are many hooks you can work on.

·       Keep testing your hooks. This way, you will identify the most powerful ones.

3)     Success on YouTube

 “Derek Muller, the creator of the YouTube channel “Veritasium,” which has around 6 million subscribers, says becoming viral and achieving tens of millions of views on YouTube depends on two metrics:

1.     Watch time: When someone watches seven to eight minutes of your video, YouTube’s algorithm considers this a success. To enable such a long watch time, your videos need to be around 15 minutes long.

2.     High click-through rate: This is an important feature for hooks. The high click-through rate is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks on your titles and thumbnails by the total number they have been shown to users. 

4)     Algorithms matter

Algorithms are designed to show people unique content they’d like to see each time they enter the platform so that they do not lose interest in it. When you see accounts with a high number of followers but a low rate of interaction, this is generally not because the target audience doesn’t interact or the followers are fake but because algorithms assume the platform has content with higher interaction rates and prioritize them for the followers of the accounts.  When this happens, accounts with low interaction fail to achieve high interaction rates as most followers don’t even see the content. This is why content must be designed not only to hook viewers but also the algorithm. If algorithms notice you are an influential content creator, they will enable access to more people each time you share content.

5)     Creating effective social media videos

The impact you want to achieve as a result of communication design for social platforms, for a video, for example, is instinctive, genuine reactions, such as “Wow! This is so smart!” “This happened to me, too,” or “It’s so good to watch this.”

The first three seconds of an effective social media video:

1. Is pleasurable to watch.

2. Has the right pace of stream.

3. Must have a linear flow.

The first three seconds of your digital videos should feature a clear and interesting promise. The audience you want to reach is busy with many other things, therefore it is critical to present your content in such a way as to appeal to their needs and add value. Each time you create content, you should know what kind of impact it will have on your audience. Analyze the rival content creators working in your field. Monitor the market and learn lessons from other people’s achievements and failures. It is essential to make sure the first three seconds of your videos will satisfy viewers, proceeding at the right pace, and preventing your viewers from overthinking or feeling as if they are playing catch. It may be a good idea to add a text, a reminder that includes the hook at the beginning of your video.

6)     Using the Process Communication Model (PCM)

The Process Communication Model is a behavioral observation tool that enables more effective communication. It is used by people and organizations, such as NASA, Bill Clinton, and Pixar, to achieve their communication goals.  

PCM describes six personality types called the Thinkers, Persisters, Harmonizers, lmaginers, Rebels, and Promoters, each of which uniquely experiences the world:

Thinkers perceive the world through thought, and their keyword is logic.

Persisters perceive the world through ideas, and their keyword is value.

Harmonizers perceive the world through feelings, and their keyword is compassion.

Imaginers perceive the world through inaction, and their keyword is imagination.

 Rebels perceive the world through reactions, and their keyword is humor.

Promoters perceive the world through actions, and their keyword is charm.

We all have all the personality types within ourselves but have one, fundamental personality type from birth that persists throughout our lives, which determines how we communicate with others, how we prefer them to communicate with us, how we perceive the world, and how we interact with it.

What matters in PCM is to use a language that is inclusive of all these personality types. When we adopt a positive approach toward life, PCM ensures we effectively communicate and connect with all personality types by using all six vocabularies. But when we have a negative perspective, the concept PCM terms as discomfort arises. When we feel discomfort we treat people around us negatively, meaning we are not concerned with having their best interests at heart or motivating them with a positive approach.

Creators of TV ads need to think comprehensively. It is believed they can achieve their goals if 30% of an ad appeals to emotions, 25% to logic, 20% to humor, and 10% to value judgments.

It is important to understand the needs of your potential customers. This helps us determine how to wrap up the information and connect with our target audience. We leverage PCM to reach our target audience and make sure we speak the same language. Influential storytellers use the language of logic, values, humor, imagination, action, and emotions. They convey messages to all six personality types to establish a 100% connection and interact with their target audience. Do not make your brand the protagonist of the stories you tell. Instead, focus on the reactions of your target audience and try to add value to them. Tell a story that your target audience can relate to and adopt. Focus on establishing a relationship of love with them, and they will be more loyal. You need to be mindful of communication design to achieve high view rates on your videos. You should focus not only on the visual and auditory aspects of your videos but also on the viewing and appreciation levels. When used properly, the cold e-mail method, that is, sending an e-mail to someone you don’t know, is an opportunity to connect with valuable customers. Just type the hook you determined to the subject line of the e-mail you’ll send and then see which ones get the best feedback. When writing a text to sell a product or service, identify the point where the problem of your potential customers intersects with the solution, and create a text or video using this point as the main message.

The author cites the example of environmentalists to explain the matter more clearly:

Environmentalists are the worst communicators on the planet. Considering an environmentalist saying “We should stop eating fish, because the way things are going, we will have no fish left in the oceans. Moreover, all fish are covered in plastic. If you’re eating fish, you have a problem. Because you care neither about the environment nor the oceans,” would be a good example of failing to communicate effectively. They can be totally right but who would listen to this? Who would lend an ear to an attack on themselves? Sentences like “You have a problem” don’t trigger change. However, if they were to form sentences that would speak to the six key personality types, they could change things. For example: “We all love oceans and fish. Data shows there will be no fish in our oceans by 2030. If we want to maintain our oceans for generations to come, we must create alternative ways. Imagine a future with lots of fish and clean waters. Come on and join me. And, let’s take action!”

7)     Leveraging the ARCS Effect

A four-phase copywriting style called the “ARCS Effect” could draw your target audience’s attention.

The process works as follows:

Ask: Ask a question to which your potential customer would reply with a “yes.” For example: “Would you like to get the maximum return on your money in the bank? / Yes. / Then, you may consider buying works of art.

Reveal: Explain to your target audience that you used to be where they stood at first. Tell them how you approached your goal as you gained experience.

Call: Tell about your discovery that saved you from uncertainty. At this point, explain what helped you get to where you are now and how your target audience can arrive there.

Send: This is your call to set people in motion and achieve the impact you want your communication to create. You can ask them to subscribe to an e-mail list or follow an account.

8)     Being authentic in content creation

“People buy what you believe, not what you make.” Ernest Lupinacci.

Authenticity plays a major role in building a connection of trust with your target audience and being successful on digital platforms. Brands should focus on the needs of their target audience, not who they are and what they want to tell. Your communication should build a convey a sense of trust and authenticity to your consumers, your hooks should support your main idea, and you should honestly explain your promise.

9)     Learning how to listen

Active listening is a kind of listening that allows you to notice the meaning underlying what you hear and start to really understand what the other person is telling you. It helps us focus on the moment and understand people correctly. Even if you’re talking to three different people in a company, say the CEO, the Vice President, and a manager, you need fine-tuning in your hooks and stories to address each person’s unique needs.

Below, you will find some general questions you may ask before starting a meeting. You may need to into more detail depending on your industry and the needs of your potential customers, but you can think of these questions as a good starting point:

1.     What are your foremost purposes and goals?

2.     What obstacles do you run into on your way toward these goals?

3.     What are the most annoying problems concerning your organization?

4.     What are the biggest challenges you experience in your position?

Listening can help you discover the hooks, stories, and products that offer solutions to the most common problems of your potential customers. Ask a lot of questions to find out about what your potential customers really need. Do not engage in sales-focused conversations. Try your hooks and stories and observe the reaction. Remember that creativity can be improved through the ability to listen to and reflect on the ideas of others. You may even discover new business opportunities by listening actively. Create content by taking into account the wishes and needs of your target audience. Make sure that your way of thinking is not “I am here to sell or promote my product or service,” but “I am here to offer value through my product or service.” Use Google News, Google Trends, Reddit, YouTube, Instagram, Tubular, and Facebook to explore what people seek and what kind of topics and content they are interested in. Examine and analyze social media content formats and concepts, as well as your competitors’ contents, to save time. 

10)  Increasing the demand for the brand

The brand benefit or the benefit or meaning your products and services will offer to your customers should be your main focus when creating hooks and stories. Leverage marketing to fulfill your promises and show how you fulfill them.

You stand out and attract attention if you offer unique value to others. When people notice new needs they never noticed before, they pay for the solutions offered to them. You can price your products and services higher if you identify such needs. Connect with your target audience through emotions, humor, surprise, excitement, or education. This way, your content will be shared more. Use content marketing to improve your relations with potential and existing customers. Present the value you wish to give right away in your online content. The five themes that make the content unique and help it become viral are adventure, comedy, emotion, inspiration, and surprise. The reason why some videos on Facebook achieve the highest view rates is that their concepts are taken from real-life experience, supported by scientific studies and that they convey the information in a poetic yet simple language.

Hook Point outlines a process that will help you better communicate with your target audience, business partners, and existing customers. Once you create the right hook, you gain perhaps a minute to communicate your message. I believe if we integrate the hook model into our overall business strategy, we can step forward in the competition.

It is not easy for a business or a brand to come up with a successful hook. Kane offers a complete roadmap to achieve this. The essence of the book is that brands should have a story and constantly and clearly communicate the messages of that story via various platforms. A successful hook helps win the attention and interest of consumers. This way, you establish the connection to share your story. It is also important to keep revising, testing, and renewing your hooks.

There are many examples in the book. To sum them up, if we fail to hook our followers within the first three seconds, we can’t possibly get them to want to learn more about the story of our brand, product, or service! Engaging followers just once isn’t enough to create a long-lasting brand. We have to get them hooked all the time. Therefore, I found the practical information in the book very useful. I suggest you read the entire book.

Think about it this way: maybe you have nothing to do with sales, marketing, or social media in your job, or you are in the B2B or industrial sales business, or you are an academician, bureaucrat, or soldier. What I wrote in this article is definitely not a loss of time for you because today this kind of communication is the standard way as the whole society is and, of course, you are subject to hooks. On the contrary, you can benefit from hooks, too. As long as you listen actively, have a genuine story, are honest, speak to the personality types of others, accept feedback, and fine-tune accordingly. Hooks may surely enable primacy and appeal in communication but what matters in personal relations is continuity.

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