Posts Tagged ‘ audience ’

Permission to be silly.

Last night, I checked out the middle school ministry that I’m praying about serving with at church.

I noticed that while worshiping, not only was it acceptable to act a little silly, it was encouraged. And it started at the top.

The worship leader, who’s been doing youth ministry for years, wasn’t “acting his age,” and in doing so, gave the kids permission to act theirs without having to worry about looking silly. He acted like he was their age so that they could act like they were their age in worshiping God.

Some might say that he’s making up for something, or that he hasn’t grown up. But I don’t see that. Instead, I see a man doing his part to serve his community doing what he loves – connecting with the middle school children at his church. I see a man letting his “street cred” suffer a bit so that he can bring pre-teens closer to Jesus. I see a man posing as a youth so that at the appropriate times, he can treat teenage boys like men and teenage girls like women.

It’s rare to find places where it’s okay to act a little silly. But by showing me his world, he’s given me one such place. If they’ll have me, I think I’m taking that part-time job.

Whose movie will you watch?

When you hear about a new movie, how do you decide whether or not it’s worth your attention? Probably based on who’s in it. Easy enough.

But how do you decide that say, Christian Bale, is someone whose movies you want to see? Probably based on what you’ve seen him do before. Probably not based on whether or not he won an Oscar last year.

If anything, Christian Bale winning an Oscar only serves to validate your opinion that he’s a good actor; it doesn’t really establish that for you. If he didn’t act for a year and thus didn’t win any Oscars, the next time he’s in a movie, you’d probably still want to see it. Because it’s not about the award; it’s about the trust he’s built with you.

When trying to break into a world we’re unfamiliar with, sometimes we aim for the superstars, the ones who’ve won awards and have been featured in major industry media. But even if we can get them on our side, are they really the ones everyone cares about?

What if an industry superstar is like an Oscar winner? He certainly deserves the award, but if he only have two fans, all the award has done is validate the faith those two fans had in him. People who didn’t know him before still don’t know him.

What if the real authorities of the world we want to reach aren’t that famous? What if we can’t Google the tribe leaders? What if instead, we look for the people with loyal followers, even if it’s fewer than a thousand?

What if, at its core, marketing is about joining a conversation, not starting it?

Thanksgiving – American or Christian?

Which is it? How do we definitively say?

If we look at who does celebrate it, we may get confused. Different cultures, different religions, etc.

But if we look at who doesn’t celebrate it, we start to get somewhere. Thanksgiving (on the last Thursday of November) is an American holiday, because people who aren’t American don’t celebrate it. Confirmed by Americans outside America also celebrating Thanksgiving.

You’re seeking your niche. You’re looking for people who are interested in what you have to say and who you can engage with in real conversation. But maybe this approach hasn’t gotten you too far.

What if you think about instead the people who aren’t celebrating you? What if your tribe is better defined by who isn’t paying attention than by who is?

Reaching our audience

I was with a ministry group last night, and one of the takeaways was that when speaking to a young audience, there’s an inclination to want to use their lingo to better reach them, but that doesn’t usually work.

I’ve seen this done with college students in the audience (more than I’d like to have seen, really – I’ve blogged about this before), and that it turns me off to hear it. I’d much rather hear words from a person’s heart, words that ring true in his/her life. I’d much rather the speaker be him/herself.

Generally, the people who will be reading this are mediapreneurs at some stage in the game. Whether you have five followers (and half of them are your mom) or five thousand, here’s some food for thought – where do we draw the line between producing for our audience and producing from our core?

And, what happens when we go too far either way?