Life And Death On A Smartphone


Brandon Highwood | Copywriter


Firmly seated in the upright position, your own personal throne to the palpably mundane, you and your colleagues prepare to embark on another forgetful trip to Meeting-ville. Then, when you reach a point in your torture when something as simple as the climate of the conference room is grabbing your attention more than the topics at hand ever could, your eyes widen and your ears perk up.

You KNOW it’s coming; then, much to your dismay and terror, it happens. Before your aggressive fly-swatting motion catches the ringer on your sleek pocket computer, it lets out unmistakable cries of attention. The buzzing, the ringing, it’s all meshing together to create a symphony of embarrassment and scolding looks. All the while, your phone is just staring back at you like “I don’t know what you want from me…”

You have just become that person in the meeting. Congratulations.

Maybe it was in your pocket or your bag, or maybe it was right in front of you on the table (Yikes.) No matter where it happened, it happened, and now you’ve got all eyes on you and your phone for all the wrong reasons.

But let’s chat for a minute about a very right reason a phone can land all eyes on you. Well, more importantly, on your brand.

As we all know, over the years our phones have moved along their own Oregon Trail of sorts. From a brick with an antenna sticking out of it, to a majestic contraption of joy, capable of shooting 4K videos of your cat and sharing your life with everyone, the smartphone has become the poster child for late bloomers everywhere. When you really think about it, we now have the world in our hand. We can take in all types of art, reading, and news, from all ends of the globe, and never skip a beat. (Assuming you have the wifi password, obviously.)

“When you really think about it, we now have the world in our hand.”

Now, on the other side of the coin, advertisers, marketers, and creatives as a whole now have the task of utilizing the ubiquity of smartphones to their advantage. This can be done by tackling the two-sided dagger known as exposure. This is a precision tool that can work wonders for your brand identity, or tear your credibility to the ground.

Let’s elaborate, shall we?

The year is 2017, and the distance scrolled on our smartphones has become one of the more popular daily commutes. Whether it’s logging time on social media to see what’s going on with the ones we know and admire, sorting through emails to decide which ones stay and which ones go, or taking a gander back at some of those text messages that we probably shouldn’t have sent in the first place, we all find ways to give our thumbs a little extra cardio these days.

When we find ourselves coming across content on our phones, there’s typically only one question: “Is this worth my time?” Is this something that is worth burning a few seconds off my life? Because that’s all it really is. We can double-tap an image or scroll through an article with absolutely no effort at all. It seems like a pretty easy objective to meet, but what does it say about you if the answer to that is no?

Short version? The posts your brand is putting out might be the content equivalent of a dumpster fire, hence the lack of engagement and feedback.

Harsh? Absolutely. True? You betcha. The bottom line is that it’s an incredibly ignorant move to think that you can constantly put out vanilla content, and expect it to warrant Neapolitan engagement.

When it comes to grabbing attention by way of a smartphone screen, there are a ton of different paths you can travel down, and that can be both an overwhelming and difficult task to take on. Then, when you factor in the long list of other brands attempting to do the same exact thing at the same exact time, it really becomes a battlefield of attention-seeking posts. The end result is ultimately one of two outcomes: stand out and gain interest, or blend in and fall through the cracks.

Interesting content stops being interesting when it becomes obvious that it was forced. The same way you can tell when someone is lying to your face about how good your dinner party is, you can tell when a brand is trying entirely too hard to come off as current and relatable. You know why? It’s shitty, that’s why.

Do not willingly allow yourself to blend in when you can shake things up, however big or small. It’s lifestyle over staged, it’s a little hectic over a lot of boring, it’s things unfolding over boxing them up. Comfort is the sworn enemy of all things creative. Take the time, the effort, the research, and ensure that you’re giving yourself a fair shot to be seen, heard, and appreciated. When you do that, you show that you’re willing to take even just one step further than the dreaded minimum viable solution. In a world of vanilla, that’s a pretty Rocky Road thing to do.

“Comfort is the sworn enemy of all things creative.”

So the next time you get caught with your phone ringing in the middle of a conference room showdown, be sure to have some fresh ideas to present to those people glaring at you. If that doesn’t work, just wave your phone above your head and tell everyone that it’s just your daily reminder of how lucky you are to be working where you’re working.

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