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Know Your Audience

By Jason Mudd

A person looking at data charts.From 420-themed marketing from global brands to Anheuser-Busch’s absolute blunder in corporate comms, opportunities to connect (or not) abound. The key to creating unforgettable brand moments is to know your audience. Doing so, well, takes data.






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  1. 2023: The Rise of Marijuana-Themed Marketing Around 4/20
  2. Anheuser-Busch's Precipitous Blunder 
  3. 60-Second Close: Bottom Line, Know Your Audience

1. 2023: The Rise of Marijuana-Themed Marketing Around 4/20

  • The rise of 420-themed marketing for global brands is a reflection of the growing acceptance of cannabis culture in mainstream society. As more and more states legalize cannabis use — and as social sentiment around the substance evolves — 4/20 has grown from a stoner holiday to a full-blown marketing opportunity for brands.
  • From Pandora's "Stoner Rock" radio station to Jimmy John's "Munchie Crusher" sandwich to Red Lobster's "Endless Shrimp 4 $20," the list goes on and on for household brands adopting marijuana-themed promotions this year. Brands are no longer ignoring this incredible chance to add lightheaded communications to their media strategy.

  • Remember, being funny is memorable. Missed out on all the buzz around 420 this year? Fear not, you have a full year to start programming thoughtful, tasteful but fun content that engages both users and non-users for next year.

2. Anheuser-Busch's Precipitous Blunder 

  • Once the king among kings in beer sold in America, Anheuser-Busch has seen its value drop by as much as $5 billion since it launched a highly-controversial branding partnership with transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney. Yahoo Finance reports a 17% decline in Anheuser-Busch’s stock price in response to the disastrous decision to alienate such a wide swath of its own demographic. 

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that two marketing executives in charge of the messaging have been put on leave after the debacle. So, how is the once-iconic Anheuser-Busch trying to pivot? By recycling older, pro-America campaigns ad nauseam. And yet, boycotts against the brand and even physical threats against its facilities continue to pour in across the country. 

  • In corporate communications, "know your audience," reigns supreme. It is a proven, successful strategy that relies on data to make informed decisions. The transgender partnership Anheuser-Busch attempted showed that its core audience isn't as interested in transgender topics as the company or its advisors thought (inside of a data-barren bubble). Furthermore, this isn’t the first time Anheuser-Busch has landed in hot water. In 2021, they were lambasted by LQBTQ+ groups for being perceived as disingenuous in supporting the LGBTQ+ community because they were simultaneously donating millions to politicians who sponsored or supported anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

3. 60-Second Close: Bottom Line, Know Your Audience

  • “Holidays” like 420 may not have been mainstream just a few years ago, but forward-thinking brands are jumping on the bandwagon to capture more recognition. Even lighthearted communications need to be well-thought, as a misstep can lead your organization to deploy crisis communications rather than fun promotions.  

  • Organizations must gain input from actual buyers of their products/services. While it's highly recommended to have DEI in your corporate communications and marketing departments, as well as your ideation sessions and campaign reviews, you can also miss the mark(et) by being too expansive for your audience's current preferences. The marketplace is clearly evolving to be more comfortable with 4/20 and marijuana marketing — and perhaps one day, the market might warm up to transgender marketing. But for now, it’s clear that Budweiser’s community was not ready to embrace it.

Axia Public Relations expertly skirts the line between wild creativity and data-hardened strategy. Our proven PR blueprint across news, social, and web media are what keeps our clients’ audiences craving more. Ready to create your own unforgettable brand moments the audience never forgets? Just ask me how we can help get you there.


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Photo by Lukas

Topics: PR tips, strategy, 60-Second Impact

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