‘Allo, ‘allo? Rethinking approaches to audience engagement

We all communicate, but do we reach our audience, and if so, how do we do it?

Are we reaching our audience?

Do we always know whom our audience is, and are we reaching them? A study of 600 findings by coroners established that recommendations sometimes didn’t address anyone in particular. One was even addressed to “any person reading…this decision”.[1]

Similarly, a researcher recently recommended targeting more drink-driving ads specifically at women[2], which suggests he felt the current ads weren’t reaching them. His recommendation came after he found the proportion of young women who had driven drunk decreased from 22% to 20% between 2001 and 2012, versus 41% to 33% for young men.

How do we address it?

One difficulty is audiences are rarely homogenous. Here’s a fascinating illustration of diverse ideals in an audience: a young woman sent her photo to “Photoshop aficionados” in 25 countries, saying, ‘Make me beautiful’. Check out the assortment of photos returned at http://priscillaywilson.wix.com/priscillayukiwilson/#!blank/c1de8

Diverse audiences require diverse communication strategies. A Swedish retailer targeting a new audience – young people – devised an innovative hi-tech strategy: playing videos of their products on Instagram. Their challenge to customers: take a screen shot of a product whizzing across the screen, post the photo, hash tag it, and present it at checkout for a 50% discount. Watch their videos here http://www.fastcocreate.com/3035424/this-swedish-retailer-used-instagram-as-a-modern-coupon

Another strategy could be re-thinking a traditional approach. A music teacher has developed a method of teaching the basics of music in one weekend by simplifying concepts[3]. For example, instead of pointing out middle C on the piano, he explains how to identify D on any keyboard, and then easily identify all the white keys from that.

How do you reach your audience?


[1] Otago study finds “systemic” problems and under-resourcing in NZ coronial system, http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago075415.html

[2] Call for more ads on drink-driving women http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10494046/Call-for-more-ads-on-drink-

[3] Music Mythbuster http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nights/audio/20152703/music-mythbuster

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