How to reach an audience in Congo

Madalyn Radetic
Selling condoms in the Congo
Amy Lockwood
TED Talks

Amy Lockwood’s TED Talk on the Democratic Republic of Congo was a great example of “knowing your target audience”. Lockwood shares her journey of going to Africa and studying about safe sex. The DRC is the largest area in Africa and contributes to the five million people who have died from either war or health. Africa faces a large epidemic issue and it continues to occur today. This country has 1.3% of adults affected with HIV.  It might not sound scary as a percentage, but that means 900,030 thousand individuals carry the disease.
Lockwood, explored the Congo region to find out more about prevention resources. Statistics show that although readily available, only 3% of residents in Congo use condoms. Lockwood generates three ideas from donors who package their condoms: fear, financing, and fidelity. Condom donor companies use an image such as a red ribbon and words like “Trust” to label their product. However, private companies use provocative images and wording to sell their product.  Studies have shown that the private companies are getting more business and Lockwood says, “ That’s because the only thing people are thinking about is sex!”
The conclusion of this presentation is that audience is key. If the donor companies want to continue to prevent HIV, they need to change their approach and look at buyers’ interests. “It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, says Lockwood.  Use messages that are going to get them to change their behavior. It might just save a life.”
I have learned the significance of a target audience for quite some time now and I’m fortunate because this concept has taken me far. A campaign, advertisement, or relationship cannot be established without knowing background information. You gain connection, trust, and most importantly sales when taking the time to identify personal needs. A company or individual will not be interested in an irrelevant idea, so be a good PR professional and be willing to accommodate people’s interests.


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