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The Reward of the Small Moment


At the Planning Conference earlier this month, micro-initiatives were a hot topic. Motion, chaos, and a multitude of diversity have been creating time-starved people, who are seeking mini-bites of the everyday, from Wii games to 100-calorie packs. In a time of micro-engagements, bite-sized entertainment, cultural snacking, call it what you will, how do we continue to create some sort of interest or meaning, when the medium only shrinks?

Our culture craves complexity. Be stagnant for too long and you have completely lost support. Standing still is too boring, too slow, and too uninteresting to be looked at. Picture a person on a street, just standing there. The first day it’s interesting, draws many looks, stares even. However, by the 10th day you walk past that very same person, they get a glance, a quick look. That’s about it.

What would happen if every day or week something on the person was slightly different? Perhaps wearing a different sweater, positioning themselves in a different way—their essence still the same, but with a slight outward change. Is that interesting? Does that make the passerby stop and take a longer look?

As a brand, how to you use micro-engagements to your advantage? How do you change just enough to stay interesting with each engagement? How do you challenge people to give you that extra second of their lives?

When releasing Year Zero, Nine Inch Nails pulled off a viral campaign
that not only intrigued listeners, but also rewarded them for their loyalty. The idea of an Orwellian dystopia was discovered by fans on t-shirts with hidden messages, through a network of websites, leaked in clubs on found USB drives, played on radio stations in the dead of night. Taking place over a series of months before the cd came out, NIN used small moments to remind and reward their listeners, providing them with new content and a piece of the puzzle each time.

It’s all about cultural snacking getting people to try it once, briefly. Maybe they will come back, maybe they won’t. Finding the natural spot where you fit in their lives and providing value at that spot every time possible is the key. Aim to be the ketchup never pushy, yet always in the fridge, handy for any variety of food imaginable.