The importance of secondary audience – Emergination in Action

November 26, 2009 - 4 minutes read

Quotable quote:

“To business that we love we rise bedtime, And go to ‘t with delight.” Shakesphere

On November the 8th, I had the good fortune to tune in to Julian Morrow’s insightful Andrew Olle Media Lecture. If you missed it, here is part of it as released to Youtube Julian Morrow – Andrew Ollie Media Lecture.

Thoroughly humorous – and well considered – one of the central themes of his talk was the unintended consequences of the receipt of a message intended for quite a different audience. More on that in a moment.

We are familiar from studies in public relations about the concept of “publics”, or in advertising parlance “target audiences”. In essence we seek to understand all of the different audience groups that a communication may be delivered to and to consider a message in all of these contexts.

Our communication objective in business terms is to influence, to persuade, to encourage action.

When we have a single audience to consider it is a relatively more simple matter. Increasingly this is rarely the case.

A Chaser Sketch That Created a Ruckus

Most Chaser sketches are designed to do this – make us cringe a little at how the edge of envelope has been pushed (or severely beaten out of shape). A recent sketch, Make a Realistic Wish, pushed the envelope for some, and bent it horribly out of shape for others. It created distress out of context for a secondary audience never intended to see it.

Some of the secondary audience were mightily offended despite not seeing the sketch. It is one sketch that Julian acknowledges with hindsight he should have not let air.

For the full transcript of his presentation please click here.

Relevance to You and Your Business

Conversations online are now more frequent – and permanent. Therefore your digital reputation becomes important. Whilst we like the idea of a positive viral campaign (in the same way that I’d like you to positively send this on with your blessing to your colleagues who may be interested), the reality is that the negative and the shocking are the types of communications that spread like wildfire. Facebook, Twitter and Linked In communities are constantly commenting – and frequently those opinions not necessarily well informed.

What Should You Do if You Face a Social Media Hailstorm?

Whilst you are unlikely to conduct a skit that offends people, the process is very similar to managing any PR issue – an oil spill, gas leak, environmental disaster or allegations of inappropriate conduct.

  • Gather the facts
  • Respond quickly and honestly
  • Build a dialogue online and address concerns
  • Humility is vital
  • Legal speak or a lack of dialogue is fuel to fan the flames

So what should you do?

  • Don’t wait for a disaster to start building a positive reputation
  • Begin to build your brand and communities online
  • Plan for such a scenario

If you don’t know where to start or need some assistance, please contact us to see how we can help you.