14. Know Your Audience

One of the most important aspects of advertising is to know your audience.I’ve been told this many a time—“you’re making it for them, not for yourself.” Of course I’m still learning this, so allow me to share with you a personal story of mine in which (silly me) I didn’t get far enough into the minds of my audience.

In my social media class, we were tasked with making social media policies for different organizations. My group chose the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, since one of my group members is a member of that sorority.

Sorority_Kappa-Alpha-Theta-2770.fc.image

All was fine and well, and we made a kick ass policy, specifically detailing what the girls should and should not post on their various social media sites. Then it came to the PowerPoint…dun-dun-dun.

I discovered that Theta’s colors are black and gold. Logically, or so I thought, I made a deck with a black background garnished with gold accents. I threw in humor, knowing that I’d be targeting college girls who probably won’t be interested in a slideshow on social media do’s and don’ts. That done, I sent it to the girl in my group to make sure the details regarding the sorority were correct. I got it back, but with a “few changes that I think will make it more relatable for college age girls.”

Pink. It was hot pink with pale pink copy. I think some sparkles fell onto my keyboard, actually. Is that really a thing? Sorority girls will only pay attention to a pink PowerPoint? Clearly, I didn’t know my audience, and clearly they have better vision than I do if they can stand to stare at pale pink text on a hot pink background. Did she stereotype or did I? If we’re going by “college age girls” then it’s stereotypical for her to have made it pink. However, if we’re going simply by “Theta,” I have to trust her that pink is the color they’d respond to best.

My life is so different—as an athlete, everything presented to us is in the school colors, with intense, bold lettering and “Win the Day” plastered as a header.

What did I learn? That stereotypes are true? Yes. However, the pink-stained tainting of my presentation also taught me a lesson in getting inside the head of your audience. My aesthetic is clearly not the same as the girls of Kappa Theta, so I should have taken more time to consider what they would want to see—not what might have been most logical. Kudos to all the guys working on tampon commercials.

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