Whatever happened to Speedy? You know, that bouncy little character that hawked Alka-Seltzer?
Why don’t we see more of Ronald McDonald or Morris the Cat these days?
How have product characters like Popin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury doughboy, and Mr. Peanut, the Planters guy, survived for a century or so?
And why, after a hiatus of almost a decade, would they bring back the Burger King? (Sorry, but in his present form, I think he is just creepy.)
Product characters come and go depending on how well they connect with consumers. Some, like Buzz the Honey Nut Cheerios bee, get upgrades.
The point of all this is that the tastes of our audiences change. Sometimes they cycle back to something popular a while ago, sometimes not. The trick is to keep paying attention and be willing to change our own preconceived notions of what our audiences like and what they don’t.
There are many ways of doing this, and the Internet makes it so much easier. Check out what’s trending on social networking. Tap into Google Analytics, or do your own surveys with SurveyMonkey.
There are so many tools available to help you pinpoint your audience so you can tailor your message. Check out your social media data (blog services have them, too!), Facebook numbers, and website hits.
Oh, and fiction writers, don’t neglect tracking your fan base, either. Don’t you want a character as popular and enduring as Alex Cross?
Take advantage of all the information floating around out there to help you connect – and keep connecting – with your target audience.
P.S. Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s new (old?) sequel (although it was written first) to To Kill a Mockingbird hits bookstores tomorrow.