One of the main influences on attention is evolution: Because our brains can’t cope with all we could pay attention to, we’re hardwired to pay attention to certain things over others.
3 ways to get attention and the reasons why they work
Because you need it: Your brain is always on the lookout for things that can help you satisfy your important needs of Fight, Flight, Find a mate and Food (the 4 Fs). A picture of food will be more interesting to you if you are Hungry. The same goes for emotional hunger and your inner need to mix with other people and pass your genes to the next generation.
Opportunity: Images are far more attention grabbing than words, as the emotional part of the brain doesn’t ‘do’ language.
It's different: Our brains are more stimulated by novelty than you would think. We need to make sense of our world, so just seeing something you have never seen before makes you pay attention. Is it a threat,meal or mate?
Opportunity: An image of a lion will get more attention than an image of a puppy. In other words, we are wired to recognise and attend to not only images, but shapes, colours and contrast.
You can't understand it: Following of from the previous point, if you don’t understand something, you need to pay it more attention. A new pack design, different store layout or unfamiliar display will all attract attention.Why? Because you need to understand them. But beware attention, because as soon as you make something more attention grabbing, you force viewers to assign mental effort to it. This in turn negatively impacts on processing fluency: The more I have to think about something the less I like it.
Opportunity: When you change something, try to retain important visual heuristics to make people comprehend more easily. For example, keep the same brands as category signposts in a new layout.
In summary, you want your brand to capture attention, but that’s what your competitors want for their brands too. So recognise that neuroscience,in particular, evolutionary psychology can be a valuable asset in helping make it better for your brand, better for you business and better for shoppers and consumers.