Arresting Audiences – part two

September 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm (Conferences) (, , , , , )

Identifying Your Audience – Dan Gregory (SMART and The Gruen Transfer)

Dan Gregory opened with the concept that “we’re all in marketing” – the way we present ourselves to the world, the way we engage in relationships, whether consciously or not is all an act of marketing ourselves. It’s a concept I’ve had presented to me before, at a Creative Women’s Circle event, only in that instance it was done more gently with an emphasis on talking about your work or business in a positive manner rather than a self-deprecating one because you never know who might be listening. Maybe it’s just me, but there does seem to be something repugnant about marketing when it’s divorced from honesty or fun, and the notion that relationships might be engaged out of self-interest rather than interest in the other is decidedly unappealing. Fortunately, fun is how Dan delivered the nine key messages for identifying your audience [my own emphasis in red]:

1. Accessable
– Audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented. You can’t just throw your product out into the world and expect an audience to be there. You need to know who they are, where they are, and what their interests are.
– Technology is changing ways audiences can be accessed – what used to be water-cooler conversation is now happening immediately via mobile devices.
– Dan used the branding of Nandos via a late-night tv campaign as an example, and for our entertainment included an anecdote about his business partner Kieran Flanagan bounding into a sex store asking for bondage outfits… that can fit chickens.

2. Unique
– Audiences can be identified by demography, geography and psychological behaviour.
– Identifying a unique audience allows you to speak to the “primary driver” and communicate top values.
– UK film recognises four audiences: Mainstream; Mainstream Plus; Afficianados; and Avids.

3. Defined
– Identifying an audience gets complicated by multiples.
– Need to think of distributors as well as consumers.
– Audience can be defined by who you DON’T want to talk to – who are you prepared to offend?

4. Identifiable
Identity beats quality.
Your brand needs to be ownable and identifiable. This identity needs to resonate with and be relevant to the audience, or they’ll tune out.
– e.g. Nike’s marketing campaign is not selling a shoe, it’s selling a lifestyle…

Remind you of someone?

5. Emotional
All decisions are emotionally driven.
– “Psychos are killing demos” – the commonality of consumer behaviour overrides demographic differences.

“People go to films to escape – if it doesn’t provide that you miss a key emotional driver.”
– Dan Gregory, via @GaryPHayes

6. Numerous
– Don’t confuse numbers with dollars. A small audience with passion can generate as much revenue as a large audience that isn’t engaged.
Target and engage your audience – get a dialogue going.
– e.g. For one campaign the tag “Choose your words carefully – you’ll only have four.” was chosen (based on the fact that at the peak of Mt Everest, the altitude prevents you from saying more than four words per breath). This was used in social media to open up a dialogue with the audience about what their four words would be.

7. Connected
– People don’t always know what they want until you give it to them.
– e.g. Audience had asked for a natural-tasting energy drink but when they got it (Mother) they didn’t like it.
– With audiences being more connected online, your product/campaign flies or dies faster.

8. Engaged
– Need to frame the old in a new way, that the audience hasn’t seen before.

9. Sold
– You need to be comfortable with selling and marketing.
– Need to develop an individual strategy.
Build an audience, don’t find it.
– Audience perception is greater than truth.
– To sell Australian film, make it congruent with the Australian “brand”. New Zealand has done this successfully with their film and tourism (100% Pure New Zealand).

Any insistence upon an Aussie brand irks me. As a genre geek with an affinity for fantasy I’d like to see, and would love to be a part of, films of that ilk being grown on Australian soil. Pipe dream? Maybe. Yet even Dan emphasised the importance of identity, and engaging with a target audience no matter its size. Surely the financial obstacles traditionally associated with fantasy films can be pruned, and a low budget version can find a home here? Sadly, the proliferation of “Aussie” flicks is a self-perpetuating cycle: funding bodies offer support for “Australian” themes and content, “Australian” films are made and promoted, so the audience expects “Australian” films, emerging film-makers think they have to make “Australian” films, so they submit for funding for “Australian” films…

Okay, so enough abuse of quotation marks. Maybe Aussie branding is the smart way to market a film – especially to an overseas audience. Like a franchise, it offers the power of a recognised brand and an established market presence. You may even find financial backing more easily. All you have to do in return is adhere to the product expectations. For me, this is too great a price – by tacking all our industry onto one identity we’re selling ourselves short. Let’s not be typecast. Let’s dream big.

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