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In last week’s #Brandchat, someone asked why I use the term “audience” to describe a set of customers in my book You Get What You Give instead of “consumers.” The answer is simply mindset. 

I believe that many of the recent blunders and bad behaviors by brands are an unfortunate casualty of marketers’ mindsets about their customers. They think of their customers as “consumers,” a set of automatons that just click “like” and comment when asked or told to do so. They try to take advantage of user behaviors. Unfortunately, by acting purely to benefit their brands’ “health metrics,” they often find themselves in the middle of a PR storm because they have upset people.

People. Audiences are made of living, breathing people, and more importantly, they are reactive people. Brands on social media are incredibly visible and always in the public eye. Everything they do is under scrutiny of the people watching. If a brand does a good job, it gets applause and praise. If it does a bad job, then people give boos and hisses.

I use the word audience in You Get What You Give because I wanted marketers to begin thinking about their customers as people. People who have feelings, expectations and react with emotion to the actions brands take.

If marketers think about people with emotional context, they could avoid the many social mishaps that have recently occurred. Before clicking “post,” marketers should filter content through the “people lens” and consider the reactions of the people who will see it.

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