Profile Priority and Influencing Audiences

Profile Priority and Influencing Audiences

To develop evidence-based profiles, it is necessary to review existing data about each audience segment. It can be easy to make assumptions or generalizations about an audience, however, these can be incorrect and misleading. It is important, therefore, that audience profiling, like audience analysis and segmentation, be informed by evidence-based data from secondary and/or primary research.

Unit 4: Audience Analysis and Segmentation provides insights into the type of data about audiences that can inform a communication response and some tools to help use that data. For audience profiling, data can be organized into the following categories:

Categories for Organization of Audience Data


  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Family size
  • Education
  • Income
  • Language
  • Ethnicity

Current behaviors

  • Daily routines
  • Media use and habits
  • Practice of preventive behaviors
  • Practice of risky behaviors

Determinants of Behaviors

  • Beliefs
  • Knowledge
  • Risk perception
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social norms

Family and social networks

  • Relationship with family and friends
  • Relationships with community leaders Partners

Physical environment

  • Home and neighborhood
  • Services
  • Transport
  • Media availability


  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Attitudes
  • Motivations
  • Aspirations
Perceived barriers and benefits of desired behaviors Facilitators that can encourage the practice of desired behaviors

Cultural and Social Norms

  • Gender norms
  • Traditional practices and beliefs

Keep in mind that the profiles will need to describe the audience and how their behaviors, feelings and attitudes relate to the emergency. This may be slightly different than in regular circumstances as emergencies can increase a sense of fear among populations, leading them to deviate from habitual practices.

To make the audience come to life, it is recommended to use a photograph of an individual to represent each audience segment, and to accompany the photograph with a person’s name. The audience profile will not describe a single person, however. Rather, that person will be representative of the whole audience group. Using a name and photograph is a reminder that audiences are real people, and not numbers or data. It is also helpful to include members of the audience segment when developing a profile as this can provide useful insights and create a participatory process. The completed Worksheet 5.1 is an example of what an audience profile looks like.

Tips for Developing and Audience Profile for an Emergency

  • Include information about barriers and facilitators to the desired behaviors.
  • Include information about the audience that will help inform program design and implementation.
  • Include members of the audience segment when developing the profile.
  • Review and update the audience profiles regularly as new information becomes available and to ensure they are always representative of the audience.
  • Be sure to capture and update the profiles with information about how the audience is reacting and responding to the emergency and the emotions that are associated with it. This may differ from their behaviors during regular circumstances.

Audience Profiles Make Your Audience Come Alive

They help guide all communication activities in ways that can really resonate with the intended audience. Including members of the audience segment when developing your audience profiles will help create a more realistic profile and identify points that are pertinent for your communication strategy.

Exercise: Profiling Audiences

Worksheet 5.1 provides a tool to summarize data about each audience into a comprehensive profile. The Appendix lists a series of questions that can support capturing important information from the data to obtain an in-depth understanding of audiences and how best to reach them.

Please note that some of the worksheets in this section are accompanied by a completed example. The completed example will likely include information about an emergency that during an actual event might not be immediately available. This was done to illustrate the full range of information to inform a strategic communication response. As more data becomes available, update this worksheet.