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Don’t confuse your audience. My few minutes thinking I was Shakira!

Posted by Emma Nicol | 30 October 2018

Categories: Communications

confused audience image

A recent surreal lunch trip reminded me of how very important it is to make sure that your brand and environment need to make sure your audience know who ‘they’ are and who ‘you’ are.

On a recent lunch stop during a busy day of London appointments, I visited a well respected salad and wrap brand Tossed (other salad eateries are available). Having not frequented said salad bar for a few years I entered with enthusiasm and earnt hunger to be met with bewilderment and I must admit a very slight panic. Ahead of me was a bank of tablets where most people were directly heading for but I was also welcomed by two very enthusiastic and booming cries of “hello” and “hi there”. I needed to make a quick decision – should I be polite and very British and reply to the welcomes and ask how they are etc; follow sheep-like to the digital tablets; or check my watch and fain a lack of time and head for the door? Quandry!

I decided to acknowledge the ‘hello’s with a quick nod and cool non-committal wave and went straight for the screens where I tapped away as though I knew exactly what I was doing. There were little pictures of food and many many options so I selected confidently, making sure I didn’t spend too long and cause either a indecisive scene or heaven forbid, a queue. I worked my way throughout the options tip tapping away and before you knew it I’d paid! Easy! ….or so it seemed.

It became clear that I then obviously looked like a lost child in a salad shop as I didn’t know what to do next and I was immediately approached by one of the ‘hello-ers’ who pointed toward the roped off area which led itself to the pick-up bar. I then had to admit that I had not frequented for quite sometime. After a little chuckle they told me not to worry and that I just had to stand behind the rope and wait for my name. Ok, I said thinking – I don’t remember putting my name but gave into technology. Almost immediately Jennifer Lawrences’ name was called to which I just thought, ‘nice name, you must get a lot of comments about that’. The next name to be called was “Drake”, to which my eyebrows started furrowing and I started looking about to see if anyone else seemed to think this was a coincidence that two people had very ‘superstar names’.

“Nicki Minaj” was the next cry from behind the salad makers. Ok, I thought, something is definitely up here I need to check my receipt. Sure enough, ‘Shakira’ was set in big letters at the top of my menu order. It all started to loosely unravel and I was obviously to be known as Shakira for the duration of my lunch! I stood in line looking around to see if I had attracted a fan base or entourage but no. Others continued to be called… Kanye, Harry Potter, quite the eclectic mix of famous people and characters. It was my turn – ‘Shakira’ the smiling salad server called without any look of amusement at how I couldn’t possibly have looked less like Shakira if I tried. It was none-the-less a smooth transaction with only me feeling a bit odd and a tiny bit self conscious about the whole thing.

In summary to what my slightly bonkers lunch as Shakira highlighted to me was two fold:

  • Be clear with your interaction. Make sure you know what you want your audience to do when they first engage with you – whether that is reading an organisational newsletter, navigating your website, receiving an appeal request. Be clear about what you want them to see first. Don’t barrage them with too many avenues or messages or they might just zone out or head for the door.
  • Authentic or gamification? Is your message emotive and clear enough to be authentic in your communication and call to action or do you need to gamify the transaction to make it a bit more interesting and require that extra hook to engage? Sometimes a playful approach can work very well but it needs to be in line with your campaign or organisational values.

I’m still trying to work out why show biz names were used for my salad purchase but then its a lunch I won’t forget in a hurry.

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