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Know Your Audience and Understand Who They Are - Crisis Communication Strategy 2

A common element that effective risk communicators possess is that their messages are always customized to meet the specific interests, concerns, and habits of the target audiences. The message is designed to communicate the necessary information in a way that hooks the hearer, yet leaves all the non-important materials out. It is essential to know your audience and understand who they are, what they care about, and what their personal situation is.[1]

Good communication during a crisis requires a customized message. Different pieces of the community require different types of messaging, as well as different ways of allocating the message. While this is obviously more work on the front end, it dramatically cuts down on the work after the fact. Like the old emergency management adage says, “A dollar spent now, is $4 saved later.”

Wasted time or resources equates to potential lives and resources lost, and this is unacceptable. If I spend all my time creating a messaging project for my community, but I do not take into consideration the demographics of the population, I may miss a large portion who is not fluent in English. If I discuss at length evacuation plans, but do not know what percent of the population actually owns a vehicle, it is a waste of time, money, and resources.

Crisis Communication requires a message that is tailored to its audience. Each of your communities require different types of messaging and ways of getting that message effectively communicated. We need to know our audiences, and be ready to serve them despite the extra work.


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