Do You Know How To Reach Your Audience?

Before you answer the above question, let me ask you this:

Do you know where your audience is?

As a global communications strategist, I can tell you that it takes a lot more than simply translating your message to fit whatever group of people you want to reach. You need to consider culture from the very beginning. Why? Because it's in our make-up and it matters. How? Well...let's dial back and answer this simple question:

What is culture?

According to the American Sociological Association culture is:

"Sociology understands culture as the languages, customs, beliefs, rules, arts, knowledge, and collective identities and memories developed by members of all social groups that make their social environments meaningful. Sociologists study cultural meaning by exploring individual and group communication; meaningfulness is expressed in social narratives, ideologies, practices, tastes, values, and norms as well as in collective representations and social classifications."

I am confident that you know what culture is and how it applies to different groups of people. I'm sure in your personal life, you've learned about customs and behaviors from people you've met or countries you've visited. But until you can fully grasp the importance of implementing "cultural awareness" as a focus in your business, I am afraid that you will fall short in your communications efforts. That is, if you haven't already.

With this post, I want to help you know the steps you need to take to effectively communicate. Whether you want to reach a domestic audience or an international one, I want to give you 4 practical questions to ask yourself and your team at your next strategy meeting, before the implementation phase. Yes, before taking the step towards implementing your next campaign. For the sake of bite sized information, however, let's focus on you reaching a domestic audience. (Next post, we'll cover the topic of reaching an international audience.)

Plainly, this process needs to be done in the preliminary stages, it needs to go into your audience and market research and then into your strategic planning. Basically, it's something you're always checking in on.

So, you're about to work on a new campaign...

Here's how you start.

Question #1:

What's the goal of the campaign?

You identify the goal by identifying the problem you'd like to fix.

Question #2:

Who do you want to reach with this campaign?

You tend to know who you want to reach by understanding who has the problem that you're hoping to fix.

Question #3:

How does your audience view the topic of this campaign?

Every person is different, but society and culture tends to dictate a lot of our attitude and behavior towards something. Discover what that is.

Question #4:

How will you communicate the campaign's message?

Depending on what you discovered about your audience, you'll know what communication efforts will be most effective to reach them.

These four questions fall under the Discovery stage for me. Everything matters in the discovery stage because discovery means learning. And if you're seeking out discovery via the appropriate means of information gathering (meaning: not simply Googling things), you'll learn for your benefit (which is always great) and learn for your company's benefit (which is equally as great).

If you don't yet have someone in your team that culturally savvy. It's time to fix that.