Everything you centre your business around has to make someone else’s life better, easier or more fulfilling.
This article brings in the EU referendum and why you have to understand your audience and be able to identify with them.
The Basics Right
You may call it enriching someone’s life; you may call it solving a problem. It’s business 101, you focus on differentiating what you do and move away from competing on price and the race to the bottom.
This is how you build an audience and people who associate themselves with what you believe in. You don’t need to chase everyone, you focus on those who are ready to step forward and walk with you.
The recent EU Referendum ‘remain’ side of the fence highlighted, quite clearly, what happens when you fail to understand your target audience.
I promise you this is not going to turn into a political rant, but observing what has happened in the UK and relate it back to your business.
Failing To Know Your Audience
No one really predicted that they would wake up on Friday 24th to a country that was officially fragmented, disillusioned and now words such as ‘stiff upper lip’ are expected to provide the UK a stronger sense of identity.
If you don’t understand your audience, you will never have the ability to influence and take the lead.
If understanding an audience means the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Stewart and Keira Knightly (here’s the celebrity ‘remain’ full list here), as those people to rally behind a cause and make a connection, is that what the audience wants? Is this the voice and opinion of a nation who feels subjugated, snubbed and marginalised?
The Edelman Trust Barometer, back in January (click here to have a read), pointed to the fact that people trust businesses (46%) more than they do the media (36%) and government (36%). Perhaps the targeted audience couldn’t connect with well educated, highly paid celebrities but those people who are looking to make a difference and work tirelessly within the communities they are part of.
From a study of 7,000 people by CEB (Corporate Executive Board) in the UK, US and Australia (in 2012), 64% of people who had a relationship with a brand highlighted shared values as the prime reason for the relationship. If you create something that people truly believe in because you stand by something with heart and conviction, people will affiliate themselves.
Linking this to the referendum, the failure to create and stimulate a message that was powerful and for people to stand beside a strong EU message they could relate to, comes down to the inability to align a brand with who someone else is.
Just for the record the net worth of Benedict Cumberbatch is $15m, Keira Knightly is $50m and Patrick Stewart is $70m. The self elected elite and far flung celebrity were not the voice of the frustrated electorate.
To become a resource for others, you can’t find the shortest routes possible and work with an agency who will point in the direction of a heavily skewed advertising programme, it has to be centred on building a web of touch points to encourage trust built on the ability to provide answers for others that are centred on their own frustrations and problems and provide them with an outlet to share, connect and engage. In order to show the way, you have to lead and approach an industry space from a different angle.
Take retail for example. Looking at a different angle for an industry is something that Samsung have done by moving a retail strategy from just selling product to creating, ‘a cultural destination, living lab and digital playground.’ Samsung 837 is a store encouraging others to participate by recording podcasts, DJing through to workshops. Everything is centre around the Samsung ecosystem.
Striking A Chord
It’s all about being something to someone.
This is something that I am trying out at the moment by shining a light on others with my monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club. I could see that a number of growing subscribers to the weekly email were from a local audience. Maybe it is because I have been more ‘tuned in’ to being present on a local level than ever before so that made me more visible to others.
Everything that I create and send every Thursday morning on email is angled towards the small business owner, to look at marketing not as cost centre but the ability to produce a continuous bank of owned assets that are channelled via the media outlets that are available and heavily focused on an organic approach. Basically, become committed to an output of work that is targeted to a defined audience.
The lunch club brings to the forefront people who are finding a channel and dominating their space, as well as the media to share how they do it. From video, to writing to podcasting, I am looking to highlight to other businesses that the biggest investment is commitment, feel awkward and then become comfortable with a new skill set.
What this has the potential to become is a way for businesses with a similar mindset to connect.
All I am doing is facilitating the discussion and showcasing others who are being brave, dedicated and embracing an owned media approach (perhaps without them necessarily realising it). I love it (I would say that), not because it’s a case of listening how others do things and controlling what is theirs, but seeing people with a common shared opinion share the same room for a couple of hours. I identify with them and hopefully they identify with me.
When Someone Controls Your Message
There is a link between what’s happening at the moment in the UK and businesses owning their media. Owning your media comes down to the ability to tell your story, not someone else to do it for you.
He who owns the media, controls the message.
The chase for Tory leadership this week (wc Monday 11th July) has seen Andrea Leadsom’s challenge lay in tatters by stepping aside for Theresa May to become prime minister. Her legacy will be known as the woman who claimed she would be a better leader as she had children (Theresa May has no children).
The Times published the article, it was journalist Alison Pearson who delt the hammer blow with the interview.
The breakneck speed of the media had ruined any hopes and aspirations that led to a public apology.
The comparison with your business comes down to control. I highlighted last week Facebook now controlling what you see and as a business the wall that is getting even higher, where you are having to pay for the drawbridge to come down to be seen. When you control the media and have the ability to build your own audience, you can orchestrate the dialogue.
You can use it to your advantage, or abuse it (thanks to Alex Blaney for sharing this with me)
No media is impartial, unless it’s your own.
Every media source has a bias, Andrea Leadsom learnt the hard way. People buy into what they read/listen/hear. People are more willing to trust your business than the media (as the Edelman research highlighted). When you tell your perspective well, you know it represents you.
Lets Start To Round Up
A goal for anyone looking to canvas support is to understand who you are addressing. The government has become so out of touch with the everyday person, that the comparisons are clear. When you fail to make a connection, you lose any form of association to build a dialogue.
If there is one thing to take out of the referendum and the situation in the UK at the moment is to understand who you are addressing. When you become disconnected from a customer base and even more distant from the objectives that you set your business be prepared when the walls start caving in.
We can’t leave on a negative though. When you make a personal connection that is championed within the media you create, people are more likely to make a personal connection with you and your business.
This whole approach for businesses to own their media, come and join me for the monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club. Click here to learn more and to book your place for the summer party.