D&AD CEO Jo Jackson highlights three-step process for brands to grab attention and build engagement

Outlining her three-phase framework, "sit up," "lean forward," and "lean in," Jackson said that iconic brands are those that achieve both high recall and meaningful connections with consumers

Khushi Keswani
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Mumbai: Brand voice is a potent tool that can be applied across all touchpoints, ensuring the brand's personality shines through in every interaction, according to Jo Jackson, CEO of D&AD.

Emphasising the crucial role of brand voice, she highlighted the importance of its versatility across all consumer touchpoints.

“However, consistency in brand voice across touchpoints is paramount in ensuring the brand's personality resonates with the audience,” said Jackson in an interview with during the recently concluded Goafest 2024. 

To do so, “getting attention is the first step followed by engagement, which incorporates a three-phase framework. 

"Getting attention is the first step," she explained, outlining her three-phase framework: "sit up," "lean forward," and "lean in."

Each phase plays a role in building a relationship with the customer, from initial awareness to ongoing engagement. 

Iconic brands are those that achieve both high recall and meaningful connections with consumers, she said. 

A three-phase framework to grab attention

  • The "sit up" moment, according to Jackson, is all about grabbing attention. Here, the brand needs to break through the clutter and make a lasting first impression. 
  • Once a brand has captured attention, the next step is to spark curiosity and encourage the audience to "lean forward." This is where the brand voice comes into play. A well-defined brand voice, consistently expressed across all touchpoints, fosters a sense of connection and compels viewers to engage further.
  • The final stage, "lean in," is where the brand cultivates a deeper relationship with the customer. This requires a genuine understanding of the audience's needs and aspirations. By creating content and experiences that resonate on a personal level, brands can build lasting loyalty and advocacy. 

While marketing trends and fads can often be misunderstood as one for another, they still serve as a double-edged sword. Therefore, Jackson cautioned against blindly following fads like AI, especially when they overshadow potentially brilliant ideas.

The true test, she argued, lies in the relevance of the trend to the specific challenge at hand.

While brand iconicity could be a long-term goal, immersive experiences become the short-term goal to achieve the long-term aspiration. But this focus on the short-term often compromises with the long-term track. 

Jackson acknowledged this as a potential pitfall, particularly with the constant pressure to keep up with the latest trends. "The focus on trends can distract from building iconic brands," she admitted during the interview.