Attention and Mental Availability

Jul 18, 2022

We wanted to know…

The question: Can attention be linked directly to mental availability?
The answer: Yes, there is a direct relationship between mental availability, sometimes defined as brand salience, and active attention.
For this study, Amplified Intelligence partnered with OMD Worldwide and some of their clients. It was conducted in the US, with 600 participants, who collectively viewed over 3,300 impressions of 12 brands across three categories on three online video platforms. The data collected offers individual
level attention and Mental Availability. Even though large numbers of people were involved, by our standards this is still a case study. We will keep testing attention against industry marketing metrics to quantify the value of attention for both short-term and long-term gain.

What is Mental Availability?

Mental availability (MA) is the likelihood of a brand to be thought of at the buying occasion, compared to competitors. It is closely related to market share change, both growth and decline, and is a metric that is widely accepted by marketers as an indicator of brand strength.
People don’t think about their purchases as much as you think they do. Buying behaviour is mostly non-conscious and largely habitual. Let’s face it, most of what we buy, we have bought many times before. It becomes automatic. As a brand, you are fighting for space in a consumer’s memory, linking to category cues. You’re fighting to be thought of at the buying moment.

Category cues are the real life moments, reasons and occasions that prompt people to think about buying. A brand’s job is to bring the brand to the surface of memory on those occasions. You want people to think of Vegemite for breakfast or a box of Favourites chocolates as the dinner party gift you give when you’ve been told not to bring anything. A brand’s other job is to make that product
physically available otherwise money and effort have been wasted. It’s a numbers game, so the more cues linked to a brand, the more likely it will come to mind at purchase time.

This is how big brands grow and stay big. They have more category buyers who associate the brand with more category cues, while small brands have fewer category buyers who associate the brand with fewer category cues.