Understanding the target audience is probably the most important thing we do here at Two Rivers Marketing. It’s the basis for creating messages that are meaningful and memorable. So when Vermeer Corporation asked us to create graphics to hang on the walls at the Des Moines International Airport concourse area, it was easy for us to put ourselves in the audience’s shoes.
We started by defining the main audiences for this project — Vermeer employees, dealers and partners who frequent the Des Moines airport on their way around the world to sell equipment and promote the brand. Vermeer wanted messaging that would help these individuals feel proud of the work they do and the difference they make in the world. But we would also be speaking to potential employees of Vermeer, as well as the traveling public, many people who have no idea who Vermeer is or what the company does.
But we wanted to go beyond the audience demographics. So we identified the one thing these different audiences have in common — the actual chaotic, distracting, rushed experience of just being at the airport.
The annoyance of standing in lines. The scramble to remove shoes, unpack liquids and get through security. The worry about missing a connection. The rush to get all the important calls and emails made before the phone is turned off. The stress of getting through it all.
We knew we had to disrupt the distracted traveler with an interesting graphic approach that would get noticed — amid the chaos and activity of the airport itself. We also knew that, once travelers were at the gate, we had a captive audience. So we wanted to create an interesting story that they would be more likely to take the time to read.
Our solution was to forgo the beautiful photography of gleaming equipment in a pristine landscape — somewhat of a convention at the airport. Instead, we chose to create a travel journal graphic approach, using hand-drawn illustrations that told a more personal story. The everyday traveler doesn’t know about the equipment Vermeer manufactures or what it does. We wanted to talk about it in ways that were relevant in their lives — how it builds cities, heats homes, puts food on the table. We wanted to show that Vermeer isn’t simply big machines — that Vermeer is real people, doing good work that impacts the world in positive, meaningful ways.
When creating this travel journal approach, we leveraged the mindset people are in when they’re traveling. Part of that mindset includes the stress and distraction of the airport experience — but it also includes the excitement and anticipation for the destination and what might happen there.
Understanding our target audience and what they would be feeling and experiencing at the time they saw the graphics on the walls helped us make an emotional, human connection. To create a story that went beyond demographics, to be both meaningful and memorable.