Hooks, Responses and Rewards

Note: Think of this as the continuation of the popular Stories, Players and Games thread

Advertising is the business of designing hooks

The hook being the lure to catch a fish

And, just like fish, hooks come in all shapes and sizes

In music the hook is the repetitive, attention-grabbing, memorable, singalong and easy to dance to ear worm that keeps you hitting the repeat button

In movie making we have the money shot.

The bit in the movie trailer that convinced you to buy a ticket.

Arguably it is “the most important element in the movie and that everything else (if necessary) should be sacrificed at its expense.”

In story writing the hook is an opening so exciting that it convinces a reader keep reading

It’s also the cover design that entices you to lift the book off the shelf

It is the headline and/or the photo (the clickbait) in the newspaper or magazine website that entices you to read more

Ultimately creative advertising is a game of unearthing the killer hook

This is why advertising utilises elements of all these things to capture our attention

But, as we have seen previously in the Stories, Players and Games thread, the killer hook is just one of the behavioural triggers embedded within the Stories, Players and Games matrix

Now you could say Advertising delivers the hook while product design is in the business of designing the response and reward

But that would be to misunderstand the key difference between linear (Passive) media and digital (Interactive) media

The like and share buttons employed by social media platforms are the Hooks, Responses and Rewards all wrapped up into one neat “game changing’ package

You could say Stories - Hook - Players - into Responding - to the Game - of sharing Rewards (which generate stories…)

But that would be to miss the true nature of the model

Because equally Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter are Games that reward players who respond to the hook of sharing stories

Indeed you mash up the equation from any direction... e.g.

A game of hooks, rewards and responses played out by players seeking hooks, rewards and responses amplified by the sharing stories of hooks, rewards and responses

Network effects.

But a much deeper appreciation of network effects than the overtly simplistic idea of the value of the network being the sum or some multiple of its connections.

The network being a veritable tangle of stories, hooks, players, responses, games and rewards

The hook therefore, at least in this equation, is network effects.

Or, more accurately… I do it because they do it

Suggesting the hook isn’t just about the what… it’s also the whom?… and the why?

Who is doing that? and what motivates others to do it… with them?

Which leads us to the brave new world of advertising in the age of network effects

Essentially it boils down to:

Be(live) it,
Do it,
Share it

Suggesting the model delivers three key tactical questions to assist us in resolving the Stories, Players and Games strategy matrix

Does the story hook players to the game? (Do they Believe it?)
Do the players respond to the story and the game? (Are they Doing it?)
Does the game reward the stories & the players? (Are they Promoting it?)

The stories translate into the why?

The players translate into the who?

The game translates into the what?

The platform. Or, more accurately the web, the network, the behavioural exchange or emotional marketplace being the where and when of the equation

This being the foundation layer of the Find me, Find you and Let's exchange model of the digital economy defined in the early 1990's

Further Reading:

Stories, Players and Games
Agency of the Future
I do it because they do it
* is the future of everything
What's your addiction?

Originally Published Winter 2021. What are we talking about today? Follow us on Twitter
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