Attitude change and media: Techniques for understanding what really makes your audiences tick and how to change their attitudes | Program | DW | 18.03.2015
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Attitude change and media: Techniques for understanding what really makes your audiences tick and how to change their attitudes

Hosted by Radio Netherlands Training Centre
Monday, June 22 / Room C

Most broadcasters and media producers have only vague target audiences – or even ones that don’t actually exist. Often inherited from advertisers’ targets, broadcasters rely on broad categories like an age range or a social group (e.g. the elderly) to describe their audiences. But, these are not truly specific target audiences, especially when using media to address attitude or behavior change, or when producing media campaigns. Understanding what a specific target audience is, becomes exceedingly important with the use of media in radicalization and extremism, and in the production and countering of propaganda. Central to understanding how media can be used to impact attitudes and beliefs (including political beliefs/attitudes) and in using media to counteract radicalization and propaganda are the concepts of persuasion, agreed realities and the role that emotions play in creating and changing attitudes and beliefs.

Many of the media funded by Foreign Affairs ministries are aimed at addressing attitude and/or behavior change, although the attempts to achieve this often use news and information-based approaches to reach broad, vaguely identified target audiences; a combination that results in very little impact. The Netherlands’ International media training center, RNTC, has been developing its “Audience Mapping” and “Persuasion” approach for media professionals over many years. The Mapping technique helps media producers differentiate between macro and micro target audiences, based on analysis of community beliefs. It crafts conscious emotional journeys to achieve very specific aims through persuasive stories. In this lively, interactive session participants will explore this Audience Mapping technique, which harnesses tried and tested theories from various industries and professions; advertising, the legal profession (argumentation and rhetoric theory) and therapy.
The resulting “audience map” offers a wide range of clear, powerful aims to choose from, as well as the identification of multiple, specific micro target audiences and how to persuade them. With these elements, along with “mappable questions”, media professionals have the tools they need to be able to produce persuasive content in any medium and on any platform. This way they can make an impact on micro target audiences, who share a range of aspects that are genuinely important to them.

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