The Battle for Time - Week of June 19

June 27, 2016 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai, The Content Editor

People came. People voted. 

On Thursday June 23rd, the UK voted to leave the European Union. The results were 52% to 48% for leave. Over 70% of eligible voters came out, the highest since the 1992 general election.

This teeny, tiny margin means that the UK will have to sever its economy from the EU, re-negotiate treaties, deal with a falling currency and receive disappointed glares from young citizens (who essentially got a big middle finger from baby boomers in this deal), among several other issues.


A decision like this has never happened – a nation state has never left the EU before.

But this is so newsy, you say. Why, as a marketer, do I have to read more about this #Brexit business? Digital means we don’t have any boundaries to begin with.

There’s more to this vote than that.

In fact, marketers can learn a lesson in knowing their demographics.

This is what captured our minutes this week. Here’s why:

1. There’s something to be said about marketers spending more time on understanding the intent of their audiences. 

The whole point of The Battle for Time is to spell out what captured our minutes. After all, audiences vote with their time, not their wallets.

In the case of Brexit, the UK literally went out to vote.

A funny thing happened after: lots of people were shocked. So shocked, that voters stated their “bregret” after, saying that they didn’t realize their vote would count (pardon?). They googled “what does it mean to leave the EU?” David Cameron even resigned.

The connection to our industry is that while audiences lend their minutes and attention to content, marketers have to lend their minutes and attention to those audiences.

Dig deeper. Don’t just know where people come from and what the male/female ratio is. Understand their behaviour to understand their intent.

Spending more time in this area of demographics means that marketers can be proactive in terms of what moves they make, what they produce and how the audience will act accordingly.

At the end of the day, that means adaptability. While we doubt any marketers will have to make a decision as grave as staying or leaving the EU, they could weather change a lot easier if they were already one step ahead.

2. Given the right conditions, it only takes one catalyst to get things moving. 

This is a lesson in messaging. In the case of Brexit, the conditions were right and the message to leave the EU appealed to those who were unfortunately misinformed about the consequences of such a vote.

When Vote Leave’s Michael Grove said that those in the UK “have had enough of experts” he had a point that piqued the interest of people who were desperate to feel like they were being heard. In fact, they were so desperate they overlooked serious implications and started expressing “bregret” shortly after the referendum results. They said they didn’t know how much their vote would count (pardon?).

Understanding the point that your audiences are at is critical. While messaging should always be timely and relevant, a good content strategy includes one that has a good grasp on what the audience might be feeling at the time of releasing said content.

Even in the world of content marketing, there are consequences for actions and words, especially ones created with the idea to influence.

So in the aftermath of Brexit, marketers can take a lesson in what it means to understand their audiences and the actions of their audiences. Just take a look at these great cartoons that were inspired by the stunning exit.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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The Battle for Time - Week of June 19.