Monday, 22 February 2010

One thing we can learn from Beyonce

One thing we can learn from Beyonce, besides the lessons which I am sure the organisers and sponsors have learnt or will be learning is how to mix it up to meet the needs of your audience. Ms B rocked Trinidad when she chose to remix her popular hit, "Check up on It", using the popular "Palance"* rhythm. To say it went over well with the crowd would probably be an understatement.

But someone in her camp, knew that this would work, and endear her even more to her loyal Trini fan base. I am sure, being the professional that she is, that she had a samba remix in Brazil, which was where she performed before coming here, and so on and so forth.

What we can learn from Ms B is that audiences are not all the same, and though generic messages are great, when expertly crafted, there is a lot to be gained when messages are specific to the target audience. The question then is, who is my target audience? Who am I trying to reach, and what do I want them to do? Because in essence, we communicate to initiate action generally. So what do we want, and from whom? Without understanding exactly who you want to reach, then everything else is pointless.

And once you understand your general audience, then you can go about segmenting that hodge podge into smaller targets and then work on developing a media mix based on the needs, desires, understanding and relevance of your audience. I say relevance, since with all the buzz about social media, some people may get so excited that they dive right into it without thinking about what it means for the bottom line. If your granddad hypothetically represents that group who could not give a hoot about Facebook or YouTube, but instead loves relaxing in his hammock or recliner, with the Sunday paper, then maybe social media will not get your message to him and his friends.

And I mentioned how companies too must be culturally aware when doing their marketing or risk fire and brimstone from their audience. You would notice that most franchises for example, though they are famous for certain items, would try to include an audience specific option based on where they are. So for example, in China, in addition to the chicken that has made them a strong global brand, KFC also offers youtiao, or deep fried dough sticks, a popular breakfast item, as well as Chinese-style porridge as part of its breakfast options, and the chain also converted some of its outlets to halaal only to meet the needs of Muslim customers in the UK, for example. A great many blunders have been made by companies not taking the time, like Beyonce, to understand their audience, and adapt their marketing to be relevant and culturally appropriate.

So palance, Beyonce, girl. Palance.

*Palance - A popular soca song performed by JW and Blaze which copped the 2010 Soca Monarch and Road March titles for Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago.


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