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What Do You Want From Your Audience?

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What do you want from your audience? This is likely the most fundamental and most forgotten question in all of entertainment. The same is likely true for product launches, non-profit fundraisers, and political campaigns.

You think you know what you want. Sales. Momentum. Brand-loyalty. Data. Revenue. Victory. And so on.

But each of those, while important, skips over many answers to what you really want and need from your audience.

Something happens in-between, “Hey, that looks interesting” to “I am glad I made that purchase, took the time, set aside other choices …”

A lot happens, in fact.

How you find your audience. How you catch their attention, tap into their “thoughtmosphere,” as Ben Ortlip says, and compel them to take an action. And then, once experiencing the content, what they do while consuming. Do they multi-task? Turn-off early? Tell friends all about it? Watch again and again? Look for your next project or past project? Take action that has social impact?

There’s a quote from a producer that the worst reaction from a movie-goer, to him, is not a poor review. Rather it is the person who uses your movie for an air conditioned two-hour break on a hot summer day. In other words, the ambivalent shrug of “whatever” is what this producer feared most. That no one cared.

It’s important to think through your audience journey, every step of the way. What do we really want from our audience?

Seventy-eight years ago the artist Warren Goodrich created the “little man” icon for the San Francisco Chronicle as an illustrative way (call it the first “emoji”) to review a movie. Little man asleep, clearly not a great movie. Little man out of his chair clapping, something worth seeing.

We answer the question “what do we want from our audience?” with a similar idea.

Do we want our audience to lean forward in their seats? Anticipating what’s next or what to do after the show in response?

Do we want our audience to hold on to their seats? Intense, gripping, unsure of what will happen next in the story?

Do we want audiences to lean over in their seats to their significant other? Romantic, comforting, and connecting?

Or do we want the audience to sit back in their seats, feeling comforted and content, delighted by what they are experiencing?

It matters. As each of those not only shapes the story, but also the distribution, the marketing, the messaging and promotions, advertising and events — everything that creates the best reaction from our audience.

Too many only think of wanting their audience to “fill the seats,” which is certainly important, but only a natural outcome of getting everything else right.

What does your audience really want?

©Aspiration Entertainment, 2020

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