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Who do you most need to influence in order to achieve your objective?

Think about the people who are going to be crucial to your success. Who are they? Where are they? Why are they important to you? How important are they to your success? Do you need their absolute commitment and active support? Or, do they only need to know what’s happening but you do not need them to do anything?

Mapping this out is a crucial stage of the exercise and really needs some thought. It’s no good saying ‘all employees’. That’s too vague. Are we really talking about everybody? Or do you really only need to target the senior leadership team? If it really is all employees, then you will need to segment that audience to be able to do Stage 3. For example, do you need to think about line management, as well as sales staff, distribution staff, warehouse staff, the marketing team, secretaries and receptionists (see Figure 8.2).

Figure 8.2: Segment (employees)

I call this your Court of Public Opinion (COPO), because you’re going to have to influence these people’s opinions in order to change their attitudes and change their behaviours. It is a ‘court’ because their opinions will determine your fate, just as a jury does in a law court. I have seen clients go through this process of considering their audiences forensically and as a result move from an urge to communicate with the broad public through the national media to a campaign focused on getting a message to a single person.

Figure 8.3: Who are the people we depend on for success?

However, if you have a communications campaign to consider that does involve a broad range of people that you might have to interact with, I offer Figure 8.3 as a prompt to help you think about how to map out all your potential key audiences. Each of these groupings is, however, still too broad. To be successful, you must segment as far as you possibly can. For example, if you are talking about customers, do you need to segment by age group? By gender? By existing, potential or lost customers? By region, life stage or lifestyle? (See Figure 8.4.)

Figure 8.4: Segment (customers)

The more closely you segment these audiences, the more easily you will be able to understand who they are and what communication will be most needed to influence them.

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