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How do you really connect with your audience?

I’m not a gambling man but if I was, Paddy Power would get my custom. I have had more ‘LOL’ moments from their Twitter account than all the others put together. The reason why is that they don’t just know who their audience are, they understand what makes them tick. They know the difference between a fan of football and a football fan. And it’s a world of difference. In an over-saturated market such as online betting, you need to stand out? The way you do this is by connecting with your audience. Paddy Power have achieved this by creating an online community that understands the language and banter of the terraces. I would love to spend a day at PP Towers.

It’s crucial we understand our target audiences. At the start of any large creative project we create a set of personas that cover all bases, prioritising each individual’s needs. The bigger the project, the more time we spend exploring and refining these personas. But it’s not enough to know that your target audience is an AB quintile. What’s a typical day in their life? What does the world look like from their eyes?

A couple of years ago we were working on the launch of a new car. Our key target audience was a 25-year-old female. The creative team I had in mind to work on the project were two 40-year-old guys. How much did they know about connecting with the audience. So, scouring the agency, I gathered six young women who fitted the profile, grabbed 20 lifestyle magazines from the newsagents and asked them to rip out everything they thought was cool and stick it on one wall, and everything they thought was naff on the opposite wall. I would then return a couple of hours later with the creative team to see the results.

It sparked a very lively debate about what we thought was cool versus what they thought was cool. But this exercise gave the creative team a great insight into ‘their world’ and got them thinking like a 25-year-old women. We also shared this with the client, so when evaluating the creative work they were more mindful of who the work was aimed at. Applying this logic is critical for any user journey or user experience to work. Look for different ways of understanding who you are talking with, there’s no point creating anything that doesn’t resonate with your audience. You’ve got to walk a mile in their shoes and think like they do. Are you appealing to their emotional side as well as presenting the features of your product or service?

Agreeing upon our target audience and primary users helps us to determine the application’s key objectives and crystallizes the idea definition. This process can also be great fun doing it. Exploring the different worlds people live in should be a journey of discovery. And as Paddy Power suggests; When the fun stops. Stop.

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