Article written by Kristina Drury – founder of TYTHEdesign
Looking for ways to maintain reach with your community can be a challenge. When starting up a new endeavor you choose the most obvious paths such as popular blogs or specific stores to get in front of that community. However, after that first push it can be hard to reach that next round of people or re-engage your early adopters.
When I run across this challenge for TYTHEdesign or for any of my clients, we use a ‘design thinking’ activity called the Influencers Map, to identify all of the external elements (people, places, things, press…) that influence our community. If you can identify their behaviors, such as reading mommy blogs or watching specific TV shows, you will be able to identify new opportunities of outreach.
So how to create an influencers map?
- Using post-it notes, a wall or a whiteboard, identify as many of the external influences of your community as you can.
- Identify what your community READS (note… if they are teenagers don’t be presumptuous to think they read the newspaper… be realistic).
- Identify popular TV program or stations that your community WATCHES
- Identify what and who your community LISTENS to (friends, family, co-workers religious leaders, politicians, musicians… Be honest, not all products will engage each of these external influencers)
- Identify where your group is most EXPOSED to ADVERTISING (if you community is an on-line community think of popular sites or think of your community mode of transportation)
- Once you have as many post-its as you see fit in each category above, on a large paper or whiteboard, draw one large circle filling two-thirds of the page, then draw another circle inside about half the size and lastly place your user in the center.
- Then take your post-its and place each ‘influencer’ in the first ring if they have large impact or in the second if they have passive impact. For example, someone your community speaks to regularly will have more impact that a poster on a bus.
- Once all post-its have been placed on the map, you should be able to identify new possible opportunities, within the first circle, to reach your community. For example, if friends and blogs are the most important influencers – then perhaps your next campaign will be focus at blogs and give discount to friends who recommend another.
One thing to remember is that before you can reach your community you must know your community. If you can’t answer the question of what they read, watch, listen to or are exposed to then you need to do more research (both in person through interview/observation and on paper) about your community. Also, make sure you are identifying mediums that match your products or message as well. Just because your community read the newspaper doesn’t mean it’s the right avenue if you have an on-line product, for example.
To learn more about how to use this tool or have any questions about how to adapt it to your user or challenge please contact me.
KRISTINA DRURY is an expert in design thinking and the Executive Director of TYTHEdesign, a consultancy serving the social sector based in New York City. TYTHEdesign uses design-based approaches to support the goals and needs of agencies in the social sector, drawing on communication and organizational design to increase the impact of their work. Feel free to contact her if you have questions at all! She’s here to help
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