Each business owner must decide what to communicate and who to communicate with. But no matter how good those communications are, entrepreneurs don’t have complete control over the mental images we hold in our minds. If I’ve heard news reports about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup or I’ve spent thousands of dollars to fix cavities in my kid’s teeth, I may decide to never buy soda, no matter how many times I see ads or sponsorships on TV.
But that doesn’t mean that the Coca-Cola company can’t count me as a customer — they provide a wide range of different offerings for other audiences, including those who won’t buy Coke. They produce sports drinks for athletes and diet sodas for those who are worried about gaining weight. They offer bottled water and mixers for alcoholic drinks. They offer juice in packaging that kids can take to school. And, of course, they create different communications for each of these products, and appeal to each audience in specific ways. You won’t see many ads for Coke in magazines for health-conscious consumers, but you will see ads for vitamin water or sports drinks with electrolytes. With this approach they create positive attention for each of their offerings.
Each business owner must do the same: describe each of the audiences they want to appeal to, and decide how to reach those audiences. No offering will appeal to everyone. Each offering and each communication must be tailored to a specific audience and delivered in the most effective way. Coke didn’t try to force health-conscious customers to drink their signature beverage; there was no way for the negatives (corn syrup and empty calories) to be changed into positives for people in that demographic. Instead, they created new brands (vitaminwater® and Minute Maid®) to serve those markets, leveraging their existing expertise and distribution systems. As you build your business, you’ll want to think through the audiences you want to serve, and decide if you’re providing each demographic what it wants.
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