Know your audience

Each year for the past few years, our company has submitted one or two things for a particular industry organization’s awards ceremony. Each year the award submissions are judged by a different branch of the organization. (So one year we could be judged by the Hawaii branch, the next by Philadelphia, and so on.)

While we did win an award for one of our submissions this year, I was surprised we didn’t receive anything on our second – a project that yielded great results and was something of which we were very proud. The night of the awards ceremony, I received the judging sheets and found out why. In short, the primary critique was that, while we garnered “great results” and we had a “thoughtful strategic plan,” our writing was too casual for the audience.

After I recovered from my shock and irritation of such an assessment, I pondered the lesson I could take from all of this. Here it is: Know your audience.

Being a born and raised Nevadan, I sometimes forget how different Nevada is from, let’s say, the East Coast. Nevada is “a funny place,” as my mom sometimes describes it – a kind of Wild Wild West full of people from all walks of life. Professionals here are respectful of one another, but we’re a far cry from the pomp and circumstance found in many other bigger, older cities. As such, our decorum is less rigid, and our written communication reflects that.

While the pitching we did on behalf of our Nevada-based client to Nevada-based media and other Nevada publics was appropriate for the audiences intended, and was extremely successful (the client attributed their highest ticket sales ever to the work we did), it did not translate well when dropped in the lap of someone from an entirely different market. And that’s OK; I’ll take success for the client over an award any day.

Melissa Biernacinski serves as Director of Media Relations for Imagine Communications. Click here to email Melissa.

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