Know Your Audience: Being Politically and Culturally Aware

Yes it’s cliché, it has been said ad nauseam, but ‘knowing your audience’ has never been more important. In today’s global environment, the market is extraordinarily diverse. Wide-ranging and contrasting political and cultural attitudes underpin the need to take precaution when entering a new market. An analysis of your intended audience is essential, as it may make or break your venture.

Many businesses have failed to address this reality, and have made serious, and sometimes embarrassing, mistakes.

Here’s what you should consider before your next venture:

  1. Political Factors: In a deeply divided political landscape, it seems as though organisations are having to tread very carefully to avoid unwanted attention. Being politically aware, rather than politically active is a good mantra to follow. Contributing to the discourse on a topical political issue can be tempting, as it is likely to generate publicity, however, it’ll often do more damage than expected in the long run. Whilst appeasing some, your stance is likely to put off others. Instead, being politically aware would involve knowing what to avoid when marketing your brand, and how to appeal as much consumers as possible. A distinction should also be made between political awareness and political correctness. Some organisations operate on the other end of the spectrum, catering to all political demands in fear of negative publicity. Being excessively politically correct can be just as harmful to your brand. Striking a balance is easier than it sounds. Firstly, avoid easily preventable mistakes by doing your research, and secondly, don’t entangle your brand in a political debate that has nothing to do with your organisations practices and objectives.
  1. Cultural Factors: A list compiled by UKPROedit contains several examples of organisations that have failed to adopt new marketing techniques when engaging with a foreign audience. Understanding linguistic, historical, customary, and religious differences is imperative. Failing to do so would not only affect your long-term viability in the market, but would also be a strain on your resources, requiring you to divert further resources away from other projects to resolve the issue.

 In short, do your research! As the old adage goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.