Anyone who has been in marketing for more than 30 seconds knows the phrase “know your audience.” It is Marketing 101, 102 AND 103. It is as basic as it gets. If you don’t your audience, you are doomed to fail. Period.
However, what if a brand wants to market to a whole new audience? Spread its wings, if you will. Well, surely research would be in order, yes? Lots and lots of market research would ensue, presumably.
Well, if you’re a brand looking to spread its wings into targeting a diverse audience after years and years of not doing so, there are some things you need to know.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kim Crowder not long ago. Kim is the Founder + CEO of Kim Crowder Consulting and one of Forbes’ 7 Anti-Racism Educators Your Company Needs Now. I wanted to pick her brain on what brands need to know when it comes to targeting an audience they’ve targeted before — a diverse audience.
Before I get to the tips Kim shared with me, below is an excerpt of a piece from SHRM.org entitled Communicating with Diverse Audiences. I think it is 100% spot on and I want to share with you:
“Part of communicating more effectively with a diverse audience is beginning to understand our own biases and how our experiences and values shape the lens through which we view our world. We cannot assume that others share our view of the world. This misassumption creates a disconnect between us and our audience, and it can sometimes be seen as ethnocentric. We need to study our audiences and inspect our words and gestures carefully to ensure nothing in our presentation suggests that we assume our way is superior to how another culture might operate.”
Intimacy & Sensitivity
When I spoke with Kim the first thing she told me was “connecting with diverse audiences is about customer intimacy and cultural sensitivity.”
I asked her to compile some examples of just what that means.
Here’s what she told me:
- Your current personas don’t work for these audiences. Why? Because you didn’t build them with inclusivity in mind.
- Brand authenticity is a thing. It requires a deep, intentional understanding of diverse audiences. And guess what? External audiences KNOW whether or not this exists.
- An internal team that is not or is minimally diverse likely won’t have the perspective to build inclusive strategies.
- Conscious purchasing is real. That means consumers are checking receipts by heading to your website and finding out what your position is on diversity and inclusion, including viewing who your staff is.
- Putting a couple of pics of Black folks in your advertising to “add diversity” or not requiring more from your casting agencies, or working with marketing and advertising agencies that have no internal diversity… you get it, right?
Her last query is truly what it’s all about. Do you get it? Do you understand what this is really all about? Or are you trying to simply expand your audience to make a few more bucks? As she told me, it starts from the inside and THEN moves out. “Its time to level-up,” she says. “Time to take on the challenge and make some REAL changes. Your company will thank you in 2040.”