Extract from 2016 Community Engagement Summit, Sydney, presentation by Jessica Brown, Canterbury Bankstown Council.

In order to engage properly with your organisation’s residents or customers (depending on whether approaching it from a government or corporate perspective), it is crucial to maintain the profiles of your target groups. To do this it is useful to make use of a ‘marketing persona’

This process differs for government and private groups. For government, the target demographic is a given, and effort should be focused into demographic groups to identify the defining traits of local residents. Corporate groups, on the other hand, have more flexibility in who they target and can instead construct an image of their ideal customer who they seek to target.

A marketing persona is a hypothetical figure representing common traits of the target market, presented in a graphic format. Multiple personae, featuring the common traits and demographics of your community, should be developed to allow you to effectively know and understand your community.

When it comes to effectively engaging your audience, keep the following in mind:

  1. Discover your audience, and invest resources into market research.
  2. Pitch the right content to the right audience.
  3. Create opportunities customers want to participate in, and on topics they want to talk about.
  4. Get creative on projects, and make sure they benefit you and the community.