Example: Audience Needs Workshop


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One of my newest clients, a mortgage servicer, engaged me to help refine how they communicate with their audience—homeowners in a foreclosure situation. For me, this assignment posed two very interesting challenges:

1.) The overall mood and sentiment of the audience is already negative and confrontational.

2.) In our communications, we need to direct the homeowner away from what they want to do,
to what they need to do.

I began the assignment by conducting an Audience Needs Workshop with several Asset Managers and their team leads. These are the front-line employees who speak directly with the homeowner. The workshop was divided into several exercises intended to uncover what the Asset Managers needed (they are my audience) and to create a psychologically driven, empathetic persona for the homeowners.*

  • Our first task was to work on a basic Questions and Goals brainstorming during which I solicited from the Asset Managers their questions, their work goals, their challenges, etc. We did “pie in the sky” brainstorming to uncover ways they could be more productive and effective in their role. This activity unveiled interesting operational insights as well as tactics to pursue as I design the communication messaging.
  • In the second exercise, we had more fun and created a Mood Board by cutting out photos from magazines that visually demonstrate the Before and After moods of homeowners. This activity created a casual, open discussion about the tone and emotion levels of conversations with homeowners, and the end visual gave an instant picture of the communications challenge.
  • Lastly, we conducted a Hierarchy of Needs activity. Based on Maslow’s basic tenets of human motivation, we discussed the homeowners’ emotional and rational journey from the first phone contact to the acceptance of the final solution. I benefited from this exercise by gaining a deeper understanding of the Asset Managers’ challenges, but the Asset Managers themselves also benefited by stepping back and seeing through the eyes of their audience, the homeowner. The activity allowed them to take an empathetic perspective on the situation.
  • The end deliverable of this 1/2 day workshop was a Communications Strategy Document that outline the overall recommended approach to the messaging. My next step is to define a “Communications Funnel” similar to a lead generation funnel that will help guide the Asset Manager from the initial cold call to the final financial resolution for the homeowner. As a new, ongoing project I’ll create a Case Study as we complete the campaign.

    *Direct homeowner research was not conducted due to the client’s concerns that this would cloud their attempts to communicate with homeowners about the specific financial situation that required resolution.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Raelin Musuraca
Customer Experience Strategist, Musuraca LLC
Raelin Musuraca is versatile and energetic customer experience strategist with twenty years practicing marketing, digital strategy, and user experience. She has led multidisciplinary teams in the development of award-winning marketing and customer engagement programs.


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