One tip to dramatically help you understand your audience
February 17, 2020 by Megan Burnside
Hardly a day goes by without some new meme1 emerging from seemingly out of the blue and generating water cooler and social media buzz. Thing is, most of these disappear as quickly as they appear. In today’s “what-cool-new-thing-have-you-got-for-me-today?” world, not much has any real staying power in the cultural zeitgeist. The lesson to take from this is clear: The day’s trends will come and go, so take the long view - or at least a longer view - to gain a better and clearer sense of your target audience’s interests and motivations.
It’s never that difficult to determine what is popular and of interest today or this week. The day’s news along with what’s trending on social media usually make that quite clear. But these surface interests can create a “shiny penny” syndrome in which we get caught up in a moment and give something more weight than it deserves. In times like ours, it can be easy to forget that our target audiences and their true motivations are deeper and richer than any one meme no matter how much it may be blowing up the internet.
Should you ignore today’s meme? Of course not. Perhaps it does create a “quick-hit” opportunity for your brand to seize the moment and, for instance, post something of relevance to the meme and your brand on social media. Or, maybe it generates inspiration that serves as the genesis for a tough problem you’ve been trying to solve. But there’s greater power to be found - and capitalised on - in the patterns and trends that lie below the surface. As you monitor and ponder today’s buzzy whatever, ask yourself: What theme, or thread, may run through or connect a host of one-off buzzy items that might hold a more substantive insight into my target customers?
By monitoring trends over time with a long view, you’ll put your brand in a position to identify what’s got people talking today as perhaps being a part of a pattern stretching back through time - be that months, years or decades - and that you have reason to believe will continue into the future. It’s these sorts of substantive, sustained trends, those transcending the temporary buzz, that can provide fodder for creative exploration that can lead to strategically sound creative marketing efforts and campaigns.
For example, today’s piece of cultural buzz may be a viral video showcasing a grizzly bear rubbing its back up against a tree. However, because of your ongoing trend analysis of previous buzzy videos, memes, news items and the like, you come to appreciate that your target’s real interest isn’t the bear in the video, but the deep affinity consumers have for animals. In that discovery lies a potential opportunity to better develop strategies that play to your audiences love of wildlife.
Taking the long view requires extra effort, but it’s time and resources that will help develop quality and make your organisation stand out from the crowd. With a substantive repository of resources dating back decades, Nexis® provides access to a digital record of news, legal sources, corporate filings and more to compare today’s snapshots to yesterday’s milestones.
1. Read our latest blog post on "How libraries are helping people embrace the future"
1. The 100 Memes That Defined The 2010s, buzzfeednews.com