Be honest, when was the last time you reviewed your audience personas?
Unless it was within the last three months, they might need a post-pandemic refresh.
Governments need to connect with citizens now more than ever. As communicators, we need to figure out what impact the traumatic, collective experience of the pandemic has had, and will have, on the mental state, behaviour and decision-making of our target audiences.
As the nation begins its COVID-19 recovery, we need to know: who are we really talking to?
Where are Aussies at right now?
In short, they’re having a big rethink. According to a recent survey by the Guardian called ‘Life After Lockdown’ Australians believe:
- they should be encouraged to work from home if they can (81%)
- they’re going to be in touch with friends and family overseas more (41%)
- they’ll exercise more after the pandemic (37%).
People are focusing on what is important to them and their families, and they’re changing their preferences and habits accordingly.
Think about yourself for a moment. How has the last year or even this year been for you?
Have you revelled in new-found introversion? Have you been stressed out by the uncertainty? Have economic downfall, health worries, travel restrictions and loneliness overwhelmed you? Have you had incredibly vivid lockdown dreams? That can’t just be me!
A return to values
A period of refocusing is quite common in a crisis. While everything around them changes, Australians are prompted to return to their core values. For many, this means anchoring themselves in their family or community and the certainty, trust and stability that it embodies. United by the ‘common enemy’ they want to feel safe and secure. They want to behave in the best interest of their community, and they want their governments to act urgently and transparently.
So close yet so far
A highly sociable nation, Australians have never been so prepared to embrace the concept of distance. Online communications have taken on a more personal feel, as citizens seek connection without physical proximity. 38% of Australians are spending longer on their smartphones and online conferencing tool Zoom has announced a 134% increase in profits in our market, as of mid-2020.
Heaven forbid someone tries to shake your hand or give you a paper business card.
Relationship to experts
Possibly driven by fear and powerlessness, Australians are changing their relationships with experts. They’re listening more, particularly to those in the medical field, but they’re selective about their sources. 85% of Australians say they trust scientists, doctors and health experts during the pandemic, compared to 66% who claim to trust the Federal Government.
Media consumption is changing
You may be able to tell from the increased number of memes and circulars your parents, colleagues and friends are sending you over WhatsApp that COVID has driven the baby boomers and millennials online. They’re watching and listening to more streaming services and spending longer on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Digital audiences are shifting and the profile of an online user might be about to change for the long-term.
With all these factors and plenty more besides, it’s time to take a long, hard look at how you’re communicating with your customers and adjust your audience personas accordingly.
How to build a great persona
It may seem as though everything is different, but fear not – all that hard work you have already done will not go to waste. In fact, you should use your existing audience personas as a springboard to create new ones.
To get started, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is this group of citizens worried about? Are they renters in the city who’ve been forced to go back and live with their parents? Or are they the property investors who just found out they need to find new tenants in a flooded market?
- What is this group of citizens doing? They might be excited and heading out to restaurants and events, or perhaps they’re still keeping their circles small, focusing on their health and family above all else.
- What are their challenges? They could be exploring the dating scene during COVID, or perhaps they’re having trouble getting the kids to go back to the classroom after months of lie-ins, and better yet struggling to get back to the office after months of work-from-home.
- What are their wins? Perhaps they’ve developed a new skill or perspective, maybe they’re proud of their lockdown embroidery, psyched to be back in the gym or happy that their business has weathered the lockdown storm.
- How have these citizens’ views changed? What do they think about health, other people, their family, the environment and the government?
Once this work is done, it’s time to build your audience personas. Incorporating a few of these tips will help you get the best result:
- Use data – Base your personas on empirical evidence as much as you can. Whether you subscribe to an advanced tool like Global Web Index or have simple access to Google Analytics, there are things for you to learn. Australia also has one of the most advanced open databases in the world – dive in and see what you can find.
- Don’t assume – everyone wishes their persona groups were as easy as Gen X, Gen Y and so on. Don’t make assumptions. These groups are more complex than you might imagine, so write the persona for who your audience really is – not who you wish they were.
- Test, learn, optimise – no-one really knows how the pandemic is going to affect us, or for how long. The best you can do is make an educated, data-based decision and test it out. Take a look at your results, analyse them to create insights and then try again.
For more details, you can also check out this short article by Barry Anderson, Senior Communication Strategist, on ways to segment your audience according to their values.
This might seem like there’s a lot to do – and quickly, but we’re here to help if you need support. Whether it’s drafting new personas or making adjustments to your messaging, get in touch with us at [email protected] and one of our talented and friendly Communication Strategists will guide and train you.