Desperate parents (like me) with kids who speak or understand English may have stuck them in front of one of Joe Wicks’ (The Body Coach) workouts to buy themselves a half-hour of sanity.
But communications professionals should watch and learn from Joe or whoever the genius is who does his marketing.
If you don’t know Joe Wicks, his free daily half-hour lockdown sports classes have been getting international news headlines over the past 10 days. This is partly because what he’s doing is so admirable and partly because of the huge global audiences (getting on for a million some days) that he’s been able to attract and retain on his YouTube Channel since the schools shut.
Clearly routine and sanity are important for parents and kids alike. And sport can be fun although I gave up on Day 2 of the workouts because I could barely move.
But Joe and/or his marketing guru clearly have a shrewd understanding of humans’ weakness for suspense and change moments. Because he’s keeping the viewers, even if many of us are too sore to jump around.
Firstly, there are the daily shout outs to the kids who are watching at home. My son hasn’t had his name read out yet and gets stroppy when it doesn’t happen. But he keeps coming back for more ‘Joe’ (we’re on first name terms in this house) in the hope that one day he will.
And then there’s the daily quiz which is basically an online version of Spot the Difference from the day before. Circled in the picture are the objects that Joe and his team have switched up from the previous day. Kids (of all ages) are invited to send in their answers which are only revealed at the end of the session, ensuring that they stay watching all the way through.
In short, it’s a brilliant exercise in attention-grabbing and holding.
And it’s not just kids who respond to these kinds of stimuli. Anyone who’s done or teaches public speaking will know that you constantly have to reboot your audience’s attention with regular change moments. And good storytelling starts with the promise of change to the status quo.
This is something for us professional trainers to think deeply about as we grapple with taking our conventional training offerings online where attention spans are often shorter.