Saturday, May 19, 2012

... audiences who can't or don't want to listen to what you have to say


people around us speak loud, read, share (  since Friday May 17th, a share costs 38 US dollars, if we are talking for Facebook shares...), create and are more or less active on what we call "online world".

Compared to the past couple of decades, people now have so much acess to information, news, data and case studies that if one were to describe back then an ecosystem like what we currently have, it would be treated as pure  science fiction. We are literally ,  holders and creators, listeners and participants, users and opinion makers  all at the same time. 

This drives us to start feeling, or believing that we have an opinion which  might be better than other peoples'. And because human beings love to be with winners, as we observe our opinion become part of something bigger, perhaps a small element of a  trend, we start believing that not only do we have an opinion but that this opinion is of key importance to the ecosystem.

This drives us, to become more and more fanatical regarding products we use (i.e. apple owners believe that they are  of superior callibre ), more dedicated to our habits and of course even more commited to what we can refer to as  "a hard to change habit".


Of course this is not bad!  Brands love people dedicated to them, firms do everything  possible to create or buy audiences who have no ears for anything else except what they address to them, and we love to be recognised as people who belong to a winning group.

Therefore it becomes a major challenge for firms or brands outside  people's comfort zone to penetrate  that field. and the ensuing question is, how can a brand  gain fanatical audiences' attention?

Like all challenging tasks, something like that  requires time, dedication, a good plan, a well executed plan and of course flexibility. An easy to adopt and adjust strategy to what people say about your effort and how they react to your actions to gain their time.

An easy  but  really short term method is to make a blast through an action which works much like  fireworks. The brand gets the attention it asks for, however it must be accompanied either by a ground activity in order to keep people's attention or more and more fireworkswill be required. This is an  acceptable practice but not a safe choice, because either the brand will quickly  fade from  people's attention, as repetition is the mother of boredom ,or the company depletes their  budget. After all, fireworks cost lots of money

So, we note that an  easy way to attract people's attention is like   fireworks!

A firework action which must be followed by an activity.

An activity with a roadmap to go, with a well designed action plan, specific steps to follow and of course really well described KPIs.

Actions and measured results will  on one hand, keep  the brand on a  safe path  and on the other ,the creative team will be able to react to any kind of audience's behaviours. It is really important for the team to understand, to  feel and  to LISTEN to what people have to say, what they share about this attempt , what they retained  and the most importantly how they feel.

People who are really dedicated to a firm, or  who are fanatical  with a brand,  will most of the time feel unsafe, or inconvinient if they try something new, something which they might resist against.  When a consumer tries a product which was not in their experience  map,   once he  dares  to do it, the consumer  expects  the brand to make him feel special, a front line runner, or  at best a member of a distinguished  team outside the mainstream. 

Having well documented KPIs set, works like a compass in muddy, shallow waters. 

KPIs give the brand all the necessary tools to adjust the campaign to what the addressed fanatic needs. The team responsible for the project should be able to hear and feel how audiences reacts to what the brand attempts.

A campaign, a product launch, an icon making process should be something really dynamic having stable and strong reference points and the ability to change on audience requests and needs. And here is where the magic happens. The audience no matter how fanatical, if the brand reacts and meets  their needs and requests it transforms them into a community.

And although it is  really easy to buy an audience  you can't buy a community. You have to build it.  Once the brand succeeds  to have its community built,  then it can start talking about its fanatic audience, an  amazingly responsive and dedicated audience  which can unfortunately be  easily  lost.   In order to retain the fanatical product following  you must  keep providing and feeding the audience's needs for safety, innovation and the most importantly  their need to feel unique and exceptional.

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