352 Inc. / Digital Marketing / November 18th, 2008

Branding to Multiple Audiences: Doing it the Web Way

Addressing Your Audience the Wrong Way

Make sure your branding for your different audiences is done the appropriate way with the appropriate messages. Never under estimate the power of the Web when it comes to branding.  Motrin learned the hard way.  Motrin recently had a big PR fiasco with their Motrin Mom Campaign.

The campaign featured print and Web advertisements attempting to connect mothers through the common painful experience of carrying a child. I don’t have kids nor am I around kids often, so I take no offense to the campaign. However, I do recognize how Mortin didn’t necessarily take into consideration how their message may have been perceived by mothers.  The response received ended up being a major downfall for Motrin’s brand image. It all started with a few mothers twittering about how outraged and offensive they found the campaign. The end result…a PR nightmare for Motrin. 

There was even a YouTube video posted, Motrin Ad Makes Moms Mad, featuring images of women carrying their children and angry tweets regarding the Mortin Mom Campaign, with tweets such as:   

  • “Wow Motrin, way to mismarket. My sling is saving my life and has been for 15 months now.  Have you tried carrying a baby all day?”  
  • “Wow motrin, your REALLY messed up with that ad. No more motrin for my family.”  
  • “They obviously did not consult any real moms when making the ad…it’s a shame.”  
  • “My complaint: I just watched Motrin’s offensive anti-babywearing ad. You’ve lost a customer.”  

In regards to social media on the Web, talk about the opposite effect a company strives to achieve. And what did Motrin have to say for themselves?  In a nutshell, “We have heard you… please accept our sincere apology.” I hate to break it to you Motrin, but you may want to come up with something better than that to patch up your brand image and customer loyalty. 

Addressing Your Audience the Right Way

While some products or services are created for a certain niche, many products have the ability to stretch across several audiences. When it comes to the Web, you can rework your existing content, Web site navigation and your user’s overall experience to make sure that the right message reaches the right audience.  

Create Personas
Personas, also called “customer profiles” or “audience profiles,”  have become a popular technique for Web development based on audience needs and expectations. Personas help you envision your Web site’s users, their goals, tasks they want to accomplish and expectations. This is a great way to help you create a Web site that your audience can connect with. Here are some persona resources:
USDA — Audience Analysis and Personas, and Overview of Personas.

Be Aware Your Audiences Differences  
Different audiences respond to different messages. Some of your users may be more receptive than others to the messages you are trying to convey.  Complete an
audience analysis of your Web site’s users and cater to meet their needs.

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)  
This key marketing concept applies when your targeted audience is a wide range of audiences. When you are creating content for your Web site keep it basic and in the users vocabulary.  

Think About Your International Audience  
Making your Web site multi-lingual is necessary if you have users who do not speak English. If your products/services are used internationally and your Web site doesn’t support foreign languages, then you are missing out on potential business from your audience. For example, The
Salvation Army Canada Web site where users can toggle from English to French.  

Analyze Search Data  
Research keywords your users are typing into your Web site’s search. You want to make sure the keywords they are using are the same keywords you’re using on your site. This will also help with search engine optimization.