Know your audience (and your brand), in the buff.
November 17, 2015
Todd Henderson

Know your audience (and your brand), in the buff.

Playboy magazine announced that it’s removing nudity from its print publication. Clearly print’s not dead, yet. But in all seriousness, this announcement stirred the social honey pot and started a cultural conversation. Why remove one of the world’s most notorious brand’s core pillars? Let’s discuss.

By covering up the nude photos, the magazine hopes to appeal to a broader and younger audience both in print and online. Playing to the imagination and focusing on the content. Who are we kidding? We’re just a click away from seeing anything our little heart’s desire. But with such a drastic change in direction they could lose the audience they had while never attaining the audience they’re looking for. What can we learn from Playboy’s drastic change? Two things:

1. Know your audience. Intimately.

2. Take risks.

Knowing your audience is key, regardless of medium. Identify your current audience. Be honest with yourself and your team. Do your research. Then optimize your brand for the biggest areas of growth. Audiences grow and times change. They’re dynamic. Just like your brand and company should be. Being dynamic allows for optimal growth. Because, if you’re not growing, you’re growing stale and no company wants their brand to be stagnant. Learning who your audience is and who you want them to be, alleviates the potential risk of irrelevance.

“Yes, we’re taking a risk by going non-nude,” the magazine said, ”but this is a company—like all great companies—that has risk in its DNA.” Wiser words may never have been spoken. As a brand, you either act upon calculated risk and adapt to the ever-changing landscape, or you exist long enough to see yourself slip under the cloak of irrelevance. Irrelevance is a brand killer. Calculated risk is a thing of beauty. It provides your brand with a vision to transcend boundaries. It’s a win-win. You either win for obvious reasons, or you fold, take another hand and learn from your mistakes. And, hopefully, so does everyone else who is paying attention. Hey Playboy, you’ve got ours.