Monday, January 28, 2013

If you can’t analyse your audience, don’t talk to them

One of the most gullible species in the world is a species called Nairobians. They oscillate between ten degrees of praises and seventy degrees of trashing any other species with which they may have had an altercation.
Just the other day, the two Jubilee contestants  for the gubernatorial and senatorial seats Waititu and Sonko respectively, were seen as the worst mistake that The National Alliance (TNA) was about to make in the upcoming general elections.

But, wait!! The two candidates are currently flying high after performing extremely well against their elitist competitors on NTV and Citizen TV.

While many will fault the middle class for being gullible, let me be quick to point out that the two candidates have mastered an art of communication that many communication experts always ignore.

Sonko and Waititu have done their research well and thus they understand their target audience.

Understanding one's audience is one of the most important elements of effective communication. Audience analysis can help you gain valuable insight about your listeners, which helps you to choose and develop a relevant, meaningful topic. It also helps you to create a communication strategy that is tailored effectively to your audience.

Your communiqué should be filled with the right tone, remember the helmet joke that CORD’s Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant Evans Kidero hurled at Waititu? The tone used to deliver that joke resulted to an evening that CORD supporters could not fathom.  Kidero had the right content but his style of delivery was wanting. If this was a media one-on-one interview Kidero would have beaten Waititu hands down.

When Waititu faced Kidero and told him that one of his intentions when he becomes the governor was to protect slum dwellers from land grabbers, I nearly flipped channels ... but Waititu was literally ‘touching the hearts’ of over 70% of Nairobi County. While Kidero was clearly enumerating his agenda for Nairobi County citing developed cities around the world he was essentially just communicating with 30 % of the county’s population.

There are three main areas to consider when analyzing your audience: demographics, dispositions and knowledge of the topic. For each of these areas, there are a set of questions you need to ask yourself so as to stimulate you to think about your audience. The age and socio- economic status of your audience will always affect your listeners' attitudes, expectations and opinions about you and your political agenda.


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James Mbugua-A reknowned journalist said...

Wacha nichangie pointi mbili hapa. First, if I was to write an article on the Nairobi nominations, I would headline it thus: Nominations Expose Digital Divide - Mbaru was all over social media, the voters were not, they are not even on social media ever. This brings me to point number two, When organizing your communication, there are some key steps you do not miss 1. Mission statement - as it guides everything that you do. 2. DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE - you even imagine them and give them names and where they live and what they do etc. 3. Create user scenarios = Basically what sort of media do they expose themselves to/how do they search or get their political information etc From there you can now create the content.So yeah, if you want to sell iPads, FB/Twitter is a good place...if you want to sell policies to poor voters, this might not be the place.

Mwirigi - A renowed blogger said...

We need to stop flogging that horse, there has always been a digital divide.

Despite the rosy picture CCK paints, internet penetration is not yet at levels that internet users are a representative sample of the Kenyan population.

What we have so easily forgotten is that you need to link online to offline. It worked for Kenyans for Kenya and it can work for elections.

Obama Round 1 used social media as a background service, to help organise offline volunteers by helping them schedule meetings (Read Facebook events) and providing campaign materials.

Every social media strategist who did a pitch to a politician was tasked to grow numbers by all means necessary, no candidate wanted to be beaten on Facebook.

The problem that the candidates had was thinking that numbers on Social Media translate to numbers on the ground. They don't, even for commercial entities.

Take Safaricom for instance, they have hundreds of thousands of "Friends" on Facebook, but because they use it as a Customer Care channel, the numbers don't indicate popularity, they instead point to a problem with their network.

The numbers in this case are the digital version of long lines outside brick & mortar customer care centres.

Waititu, if you remember the Graffitti, started his ground game way before the big boys started forming alliances, what we are seeing as a "sudden" surge in popularity is the culmination of long months of hard work at the grassroots, thats what did Mbaru in this year and in his previous attempts at MP.

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