When it comes to audiences, make sure no one is left behind.I recently attended the PRSA Southeast District Conference in Raleigh and had the chance to sit in on an interesting session with multi-generational relations expert Timothy Moore. In his presentation, Moore broke down some major events that have helped to shape individuals from each generation with a big takeaway being that we can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to how we lead or interact with people.
I couldn’t help but tie this message to the work we do as communicators. In our roles as storytellers, we’re captains who are often steering ships full of audiences of varying backgrounds – and it’s our responsibility to make sure no passenger gets left behind. With that in mind, here are few things we can do to ensure our effort as storytellers are hitting the right mark.
Step 1: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCES
This is job number one for us as marketers and writers. While demographics serve as a good launching pad, generational dynamics teach us that there’s a lot more to be considered behind the numbers – including understanding who those people are, their interests and how they might view the world. This notion might inspire a more thorough auditing process, generating insights that can help drive more effective communications.
Step 2: don't be exclusive
This one is easier said than done. But, in the same way people vary in how they respond to certain leadership or management styles, they also differ in how they digest information. As storytellers, we have to commit to meeting audiences on their level. This may range from being sensitive about certain language or jargon, to shaping entire content pieces to fit the reading and/or comprehension levels of those we intend to reach.
Step 3: Do be the bridge
The term “generation” only serves as another way to categorize people, but that doesn’t mean everyone stays neatly in their boxes. As storytellers and communicators, we’re in a unique position to help fill gaps in understanding by providing clarity in the content we create. So, while a Baby Boomer reader might not know what latest pop-culture trend teens are into these days, it doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate it (and even enjoy it) when we take the time to put things into context.
The power that comes with understanding target audiences and sometimes taking a multi-generational approach to communicating can be seen in the success of some big blockbuster movies. Toy Story and Finding Nemo didn’t find major success by only catering to kids, they found creative ways to appeal to a wide range of audiences. That’s a lesson we can take with us moving forward in our storytelling pursuits – striving to building strong connections through a better understanding of the audiences we serve.
Give us a call to chat about your audiences and how to best reach them.