Brand Terminology — Messengers, Recipients, and Participants
Published in: Branding
Published in: Branding
The marketing world has all kinds of jargon to describe the roles played in the process of delivering a message to the marketplace. Targets, users, consumers… it all sounds very clinical and can tend to dehumanize the people involved. Perhaps keeping focus on the humanity of the people we work with and the importance of their role every step of the way can help us to craft experiences that are both engaging and valuable.
I consider myself to be a messenger. It is my job to take the message given to me, and deliver it in the most effective means available. I do refer to Aedis as a branding consultancy or a design firm from time to time, but those classifications are necessary to define our focus. However, Aedis and every other organization in the marketing/advertising/design industry must understand that they serve the same very basic yet essential function. Understand the message provided to us by our clients, translate it into an appropriate format, and deliver it into the marketplace.
There has been a push over the last several years for organizations to take a more “user-centered” view. We try and base our strategies on what we understand to be our user’s needs. We ask our users questions about how we can improve their experience. And all the while we refer to them as if their role in our organization was unidirectional. Consider your “users” as participants and your whole paradigm begins to shift. Every interaction is suddenly an exchange. Participants can be seen and valued as an essential piece of a brand and not just a revenue source. Their ideas and feedback are a required ingredient in any recipe for success. See your participants as the creative and insightful people they are, and not just as a biological credit card transporter, and your brand will have more resources than it knows what to do with.
Not everyone who comes into contact with a brand is a participant. I see ads for products everyday which I do not use. Perhaps the product isn’t in my budget, or perhaps it doesn’t align with my lifestyle, but never the less I am given the opportunity to take notice and use that information as I deem fit. People who find themselves in this scenario can be considered recipients. They hear your message, regardless of whether or not they are actually participating with your brand. These recipients are an important element not to be forgotten in any marketing strategy. Recipients will interpret your message, critique it and develop an opinion regardless of if they ever plan to participate or not. Either way, they will remember you, and they will talk about you if an opportunity to do so presents itself.
The way we refer to the people we interact with says a great deal about how we value them. If we speak in mechanical or aggressive terms then we strip away the emotions and intellect which make us unique. In a shrinking world, where interactions weigh heavily on our ability to empathize and show understanding, we cannot afford to view the entire population as a target.