Nick Ang

Want to be heard? Interrupt the pattern

November 19, 2018

Want to be heard? Interrupt the pattern

“When was the last time you listened to the seat belt announcement on an airplane? We ignore it because we’ve been trained to ignore it.” Seth Godin brings up a good point. If we can associate your message with a wider pattern of messaging, we’re likely to ignore it.

As a marketer of a new company, understanding this may mean the difference between gaining traction from effective messaging and closing shop because of a depleted bank account.

In the wedding industry in which we recently opened online wedding veil shop, I’ve certainly noticed a few patterns. And I did this entirely subconsciously!

One of the patterns in the caption of Instagram posts is this: fluffy, over-the-top mini-stories about love, wind in the hair, and stars being aligned, followed by many, many hashtags. Deconstructed, the pattern goes something like this:

  • Say something supposedly dreamy about marriage, which often comes across as contrived, so I feel sold to the idea of love. Instead, I feel like I’m being sold, not shared, an idea.
  • Throw in hashtags so that as many people as possible can find this post. This sometimes makes me feel less valued. Just one more person viewing your post.

We may develop negative sentiments from seeing yet-another-typical-message. But even when we don’t, Seth reckons that “[w]hen you show up in a place, at a time, with a format that we’ve been trained to ignore, we’ll ignore you.”

So, how do we stop being ignored by people whom we want to connect with?

Interrupt the pattern and be heard

The solution is to interrupt the pattern. In other words, do something pleasantly unexpected once in a while, and shake things up again with something novel when a new pattern emerges.

Seth suggests 4 other things to keep in mind when trying to “get your memo read”:

  • Write a story. The first sentence determines if I will read the rest of your message. Engage me by talking about me, or telling me about you. Make it about something recent or is about to happen.
  • Frame the story. Help me compare your story to something.
  • Chunk the message. Keep it short and about one thing only, if possible.
  • Include a call to action. Convert my engagement into action.

Now, I have to come out and admit something. I’ve been participating in strengthening this pattern with our posts on the ang veil yú Instagram account.

But I’m about to have a conversation with my wife about it and I’m hopeful that we’d be able to connect more deeply with our audience.


Photo by Roseanna Smith on Unsplash.


Nick Ang © 2020

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