Friday, April 24, 2015

Will You Master The Book Marketing Science Of Captivology?

I received a copy of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention, by Ben Parr (Harper One). At first thought, I considered it merely another marketing and branding book with a little spin about a "science" and this new word: captivology. But after going through the book I concluded that there are things authors and publishers can learn from it that will help them market and promote their books and brands.

The book’s press release says this:

“Based on hundreds of hours of research of more than 500 scientific studies on attention, psychology and neurology and interviews with 50 PhDs, researchers and thought leaders, CAPTIVOLOGY features case studies and conversations with masters of attention including Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, film director Steven Soderbergh and illusionist David Copperfield.

“What Parr discovered is that there are three types of attention – immediate, short, and long.  To “build a bonfire of attention,” Parr shows you how to sustain the attention of an audience by first eliciting a response (immediate attention), engaging their “working memory” (short attention), and then creating value from them (long attention).  You can capture all three of these types of attention with what Parr calls seven “captivation triggers” – psychological and scientific phenomena that trigger responses in the mind.”

According to the author, here is how Parr sees his book and the teachings behind it:

“Based on my research and personal interviews with masters of attention, I have identified seven captivation triggers – psychological and scientific phenomena that trigger shockingly predictable and quantifiable responses in the mind.  These triggers spark our brain’s attention response systems by appealing to fundamental aspects of human nature.  They are the essential tools for capturing attention for your ideas, products, causes, and more across all three stages of attention. 

“These captivation riggers are the heart and soul of Captivology:

·         Automaticity Trigger: Using specific sensory cues like colors, symbols, and sounds to capture attention based on automatic reaction to certain stimuli
·         Framing Trigger: Adapting to or changing somebody’s view of the world so they pay more attention to you
·         Disruption Trigger: Violating people’s expectations to change what they pay attention to
·         Reward Trigger: Leveraging people’s motivations for intrinsic and extrinsic rewards
·         Reputation Trigger: Using the reputations of experts, authorities, and the crowd to instill trust and captivate audiences
·         Mystery Trigger: Creating mystery, uncertainty, and suspense to keep an audience intrigued until the very end
·         Acknowledgement Trigger: Fostering a deeper connection, because people tend to pay attention to those who provide them with validation and understanding

“Captivology isn’t about how to be loud, seek fame or fortune, or become the center of attention.  Nor is this a book about how to keep focused in a world full of distractions or about the rise of ADHD.  And this isn’t a book on quick-and-easy marketing techniques or a scientific textbook on attention.

“Instead, Captivology is an exploration of how attention works, focused on the triggers that can attract the attention for whatever audience you are targeting, in any industry or situation.  This book is the story of our relationship with attention and how capturing it can transform everything you do.  It’s about using science and practical techniques to create a bonfire of attention for your message, cause, product, or idea.

“Throughout Captivology, I have used scientific research and the stories of masters of attention, like Mark Achler, to illuminate how the captivation triggers affect our attention everywhere, every day.  My goal in writing this book has been to show you how to harness those triggers to get your ideas noticed.  With this knowledge, your ideas will have a better chance of rising above the noise that dominates our media-rich world.

“But I’ve also had another goal with this book: I wanted to help you become more aware of your own attention and the subtle biases that guide it.  Hopefully you have a better understanding now why some ideas and ideologies are so compelling and why other ideas simply don’t capture your attention, even if you know they should."

So who is the author and why should we listen to him?  Parr, who lives in SF, is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, investor, and expert on attention.  He is the cofounder and managing partner of DominateFund, a venture capital firm; was coeditor and editor-at-large of Mashable; and served as columnist for CNET.  Parr was named one of the top ten tech journalists in the world by Say Media and named to the Forbes “30 Under 30.” 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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