When there is a clear long term plan, and a strong brand to support a company the issue of using the right tactics to trigger users’ interest towards your product arises continuously. This is where design, branding, and psychology come to the rescue.
When there is a clear long term plan, and a strong brand to support a company (check Briefing An Agency – Stop Wasting Money, Better Invest In Your Brand and Do You Only Have A Logo, Or An Actual Brand Strategy?) the issue of using the right tactics to trigger users’ interest towards your product arises continuously. Your audience almost always splits up on different segments, and so their interests vary. With their interest, so does their psychology. Due to that, engaging with all of them becomes a challenge.
By this time you should have already accrued plenty of data around them, and it is about time you started using them. And having a psychologist nearby to use them is where the magic happens.
Digital School, a client we worked with on their brand and marketing strategy (Read more here), had 8-18 year old students, and then their parents came into the picture as well. We might think of kids as all the same, but in reality, during those years they are at their most sensitive psychological developmental stage. The differences in interest and driving forces are entirely different from one to the other, and to make things worse, some concepts are completely ungraspable by the younger ones.
4 Steps – From Data to customer engagement
To crack this case, we had to employ methods from business, to data, psychology, and design. The process went through these phases:
Audiences tend to be segmented in most various manners. Sometimes the main differentiating factor lives on a demographic level, often in psychographic and behavioral, and sometimes under taxonomies we hadn’t even come across before. In our case, the main segmentation lied on demographics. Age being the main factor. Our segments were: Parents, Pre-teens, and Teens. Without a clear split of the audience, proper psychological and behavioral research becomes close to impossible. So it goes without saying that this has to be the very first step.
2. Influence, purchase decision, and customer lifetime value
With that mix of users, then we had to look into the business aspect of it. Just because we spend a lot of time with one group of people, it doesn’t mean that the actual revenue comes from them. In many cases, the decision makers also need the right kind of influence before they even consider buying a product. This has been very clear to any business owner and CMO. The problem is that most graphic design companies overlook this crucial factor altogether. On top of that, one also has to look at the quality of the customers. Finding which ones have the largest lifetime value, and figuring out what motivates them to buy for so long, is the golden nugget we’re after.
In this step it is crucial to look at sales books, conversion rates, and customer flows throughout the company data, and figuring out where the biggest value stands. An equal level of math and intuition should go in here. We are easily swayed by a previous great customer, only to find out that it was one of a kind. That’s why doing proper math and research should come quite in handy.
Without going into detail here, we decided to focus on the Pre-teens.
3. Interests and driving forces
Being a kid at that age is weird. Everything is changing, and you are trying to fit in the world. Looking cool and being part of a gang is all that matters. Your identity is still just shaping up, and you’re not quite sure what leg you are standing on. You will make a decision and do whatever needs to be done to be seen as cool, meanwhile, you desperately need to belong somewhere. – This is a high level overview of what our psychologist told us about this segment. Together with their identity crisis, and a few more behavioral patterns around the decision-making process that we found through talking to some students, we were able to formulate a clear picture of what it looks like to be one of these teens. Talking about their internal motivations, games they play, social media platforms they are on, what they do in their spare time etc. allowed us to understand why they decided to join Digital School.
This process is a relatively tough one. Apart from having full access to the target audience, their time, and interest to talk to us, we also have to do a lot of preparation and research beforehand. Nevertheless, understanding the deep motivations behind your audience from this exercise is priceless to building the right mechanics and tactics to engage with them later.
Now that we figured out, what types of people we have in our audience, which ones bring the most value to our business and which ones to put most of our effort in and what is going on in their lives, it’s time to take action.
We learned that the teens at that age are building their identity, and they needed a place to belong to. If you remember from the previous posts (Here and Here), Digital School did an amazing job at creating a space where students felt understood and connected. But how could we push this one step further to create a structure around it such that it can be utilized properly, and also create a platform that is scalable?
Think of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. They functioned as beacons of community for the students within them. They allowed them to have just about enough competition among each other, such that the students would connect and feel themselves belong to their house. Each house had their own visual identity, and merch. Implementing a similar house system to the online learning system brought a huge buzz within the student community. Just as the pandemic started, they started posting on social media about their online tournaments, quizzes and victories. Within 2 months, Digital School saw a 30% increase in organic growth on their Instagram page.
Similar tactics were used on the pre-teens and parents, on their respective channels.
As you could see, throughout this process we did a lot of close-up work with the founders and the audience. In other cases, we would focus on data and customer journeys, as well as a more quantitative analysis through tools like Pulsar and Audiense to figure out what the audience looks like and how to handle these tactics. The idea here is to get as close as possible to the audience and the business goals. Empathy plays a great role in this process, and the ability to see underlying motivations opens doors to incredible opportunities.
In the next few posts I will be diving further on how to translate these tactics, data, and knowledge into visual outputs. I will be unraveling the process of a campaign that brought a 300% growth to Cultural Heritage without Borders. Only after going through all of these steps can we start building the visual campaigns, posters, videos, and content.