Thinking About our Audiences in an Ever-Changing Environment

Much has been discussed and detailed about the shift in consumer behavior due to the pandemic. Our audiences have heightened expectations for their experiences with brands (and for brands themselves). That said, there are certain dynamics that have stayed true. While brands race to digital transformation, clarify their values and update their sustainability efforts, we can’t lose sight of some core fundamentals as we think about their audiences.

Don’t Underestimate their Intelligence, Stoke Emotion

Too often brands make the mistake of overthinking the messaging they want to get across. “We need to be sure they fully understand (enter specific product feature here).” “We probably need to spell that out a bit more.” Maybe, maybe not. Consumers are a lot smarter than we often give them credit for. Over-processing a message or attempting to overexplain can sometimes muddy the message. Furthermore, we must remember they will have personal, emotional responses towards everything they interact with. The key is ensuring brands are driving towards the emotional reaction we want our audiences to experience. An emotional response creates connection, recall, and even action.

Shoving a load of information into their brains may be the easiest way to get ignored. When creative storytelling is executed well, the audience will understand who you are. They will find out what you are selling. And they will ultimately become customers. Perhaps even ambassadors for your brand.

Listen to Them

In our rapidly changing world, true understanding and connection with your audience is critical. We need to know our audiences better than ever before to make an impact.

How many times have we made assumptions based on what has worked in the past or been too laser focused on what certain data says or our own personal view of what someone will react to? We’re all guilty of it. It’s natural behavior. However, sometimes we are wrong. Audiences evolve seemingly every day. Sure, the pandemic led to some major shifts; however, it is not a new concept. Change is the only constant. And brands must continue to adapt to the ongoing changes to gain a clear understanding of the motivations, needs and drivers of their consumers.

At the end of the day, we must remember to put our assumptions aside. The audience is the great equalizer. They will solve any internal debates. They will tell you what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. Just listen.

Show Empathy

Seriously, show real empathy. Be sincere.

The most trusted, beloved brands have always been those that embrace authenticity. This has only been amplified given the incredible pace of information and digital connection. Therefore, consumers simply have less patience for meaningless jargon or empty words.

There have always been and will always be events that occur in our audiences’ lives. Some small, some global. The ability to be empathetic at scale with our audience will lead to better connections. More meaningful interactions. Don’t treat them as numbers or percentages. Put yourself in their shoes and feel what they feel. You just may find that your brand has more heart than it shows.

GS&F is an audience-first agency with a mindset of continuously staying curious. We’d love to showcase this passion to you. Reach out to us here to connect with the team.

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