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The right message for the wrong audience

Effective communication isn’t just about getting the message right. It’s about making sure it’s right for your target audience.

Here are some signs. They all have the same intent: to stop people putting graffiti on walls. They all have the same audience, too: people who are likely to put graffiti on walls.

Polite anti-grafitti sign.

This sign makes an appeal to graffiti artists. But it asks them to acknowledge that their work is dirty. It’s unlikely to carry much weight.

Stern anti-grafitti sign

This sign takes the firm law-and-order line. Graffiti is illegal. But, of course, graffiti artists already know that. Again, it's unlikely to work.

Photo of hand-written sign saying 'If you are caught I will remove the grafitti with your fucking face'.

Here's a photo I took at a building site near my house. Simple, direct, and targeted at its audience. No graffiti anywhere near the place.

Of course, you don’t always have to use bad language to make your point. But you do need to consider the needs and motivations of your market when determining your message.

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Date: Friday, 18. September 2009 9:22
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Subject area: User focus
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