Know your audience before you relate a story.

Know your audience before you try to relate a story.

When we create content, we are usually telling a story, solving a problem or educating someone. Without knowing your audience, you may not be understood, appreciated or respected because they won’t have a CLUE what you are talking about. Let me talk to ALL of you about car travel and what it is now vs. what it was when I was growing up.

When I pack the car for my family, assuming a 3-5 hour trip, we pack plenty of water to “hydrate”, healthy snacks with protein, veggies and fruit and special treats we only get on trips. We also have an assortment of devices, books, pillows caffeine. We also make the occasional stop  to stretch and have a ball to toss around because it’s good to stretch your body from time to time. The music varies, depending on access to Pandora and who is awake and willing to play DJ. That’s how it is today. How it used to be was QUITE different.

With five siblings and a 14 year range, we have different memories and experiences of our family, and especially our parents. I came the end as a surprise when some of their contemporaries were having grandchildren. I was pretty much an only child for these trips that I best remember. I remember traveling by car to relatives and time share presentations. The goal was to GET to the place. The journey was not the goal, poetic as it sounds. Get there, get there fast and with as few stops as possible. This is 1978-83 range. I don’t remember the trips when I was really small, except the one where I barfed in 1969 on the way from La Palma to Sacramento because 8 of us in the dodge playing Rack-O on the floor was a bit disorienting. It was usually just Dad, Mom and me. We were either going to stay with relatives in Sacramento with a possible side trip to Hearst Castle. driving up the coast, or, my personal favorite – the Time Share presentation free trips to Palm Springs in SUMMER. Dad would give 90 minutes of his time to anyone if it meant he could give us a free weekend in a hotel or motel. Those were the short trips. But the 8 hour Sacramento trips and Palm Springs trips all had the same car menu:

Sanka packets, hot water in a thermos for Mom, and a coffee thermos for dad, Fig Newtons as the treat and these nasty Garibaldi Raisin Biscuit cookies to keep the fiber up and Dad’s first night smooth. Mom would also make PJ&J sandwiches, as they didn’t have mayo to go bad. They were on day-old Roman Meal bread because it was healthier. Rats died eating white bread, or didn’t you know that fact she learned in the Enquire? If I had a liquid, it was a single soda can of Tiki Punch from Plow Boys or Gemco as a treat, as well. The music -big band, show tunes, or an AM broadcast of a baseball game, horse race or something equally thrilling. It was THEIR choice ALWAYS. My music was NEVER an option. So no KHJ, KLOS, KROQ or KIIS for me. There were no liquids for me to HYDRATE because if I hydrate, we would have to stop for something other than gas and that was unacceptable. Had he allowed the hydration, we may not have needed to rely on strangers to help us refill the radiator that overheated on the Grapevine almost every trip. But that was not to be. There were no stretch stops, nothing spontaneous.

If I’m trying to relate car trips to an audience, I’d better know their point of reference, region they came from, cultural differences and more or they won’t be able to relate to anything unless they’ve watched reruns of “I Love Lucy,” the Road Movies with Bob & Bing, Marx Brothers and more. How many of you are still with me? If you are, you just may be my ideal client demographic!

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