Content & Channels

February 4, 2009, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Within traditional channels the mindset that dictates media use is generally quite easy to understand, almost intuitive. But within interactive media the audience mindset and motivation can vary greatly- thankfully we live in a world of data and metrics that can deliver us actionable insights.

If you want a wordy, academic perspective on the importance of understanding mindset I highly recommend reading The Interactive Advertising Model (Rogers & Thorson, 2001)- download here via the Journal of Interactive Advertising. If you want a to sit back and watch a great example of the importance of understanding mindset watch 1983: The Brink Of Apocalypse– stream here via Google video. I recorded this doco aired on ABC a couple days ago and watched it last night. Basically its about a series of events in 1983 that lead the Soviets to believe that Ronald Reagan was planning a nuclear first strike; announcement of the Star Wars program, beefing up of security around US embassies after the Beirut bombings and NATO war games. The surprising part is that neither the US or NATO had any idea that the USSR even felt threatened- the West (Western Europe, America) did not understand the Soviet mindset. First tenet of Social Judgement Theory: People do not judge a message on its merit, they compare it against what they already know and have experienced.

What developed the two conflicting mindsets is quite easy to understand (in hindsight). Compared with Russia, the West has had it pretty good, WWII was a great victory of strength that is celebrated. To the Soviets, WWII/The Great Patriotic War was an ambush from the west that decimated their country on an unimaginable scale- 24+ million dead in four years. Therefore in 1983 we have two camps with very different mindsets; The West: We can maintain peace through strength (eg. Star Wars, NATO exercises), The Soviets: On guard and interpreting any foreign action as a potential act of aggression. Net result, the world came very close to the point of annihilation.

The convoluted parallel i draw here between interactive media and Cold War relationships has a moral: without understanding your audiences mindset and perception of your brand, an action you may believe to be a positive can be interpreted in a totally different manner. Take the time to analyse the data available, look at pyschographics, site metrics and put yourself in the shoes of your audience and forget your brand views and objectives for a while.


1 Comment so far
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Interesting take on things Mike. Insightful indeed. Keep up the good work. I’ll be back for more.

Comment by Jonny Mac

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