December 17, 2012

Creating Real Security Awareness: STEP 2

Identify your audience
After starting the first step in the security awareness cycle, it's time to continue on with the next step.

Step 2: Identify the Audience.

As with any briefing, article or other forms of communication, you need to identify the audience you are trying to target. Why? Because if you are going to have an effective security awareness program, your content must be engaging. To catch people's attention you must tailor your message to them. Prior to crafting that special message, you need to know who you are tailoring it to. Identifying your audience first, helps you later down the road. Trust me!

Now back to identifying the audience. As with all general security specialist, you probably want to target the workforce. Great! We narrowed the field down some. From here, break them down into groups and possibly further into sub-groups, for instance work groups (professional vs. entry level, administrative support vs. management), age (baby boomer vs. generation Y), and educational level. Keep in mind the mentioned groupings are only suggestions. There are a variety of grouping types; the only thing stopping you is your imagination. For example, in a school setting the different audience groups you have are teachers, students, administrators, support staff, and parents. Each group is distinctively different from the other. The next two parts of this step help you in defining your audience, which will help you in crafting a message that hits the target.

Defining the audience helps you in
crafting a message that hits the target
After identifying the audience groupings, research their communication preferences. For example, generation Y members are typically more comfortable with computer based instructions and social media, while baby boomer members typically prefer more face-to-face interactions and reading hard copy material. Identifying how the different groups communicate, allows you to focus efforts on communication platforms that provide a better return on your time. Additionally, you increase your chances of overcoming communication barriers.

Another part of defining your audience is looking at their interests. This becomes key in creating engaging material for your security awareness program. To illustrate my point, I will use a preschool classroom as a setting. When I had to teach a preschool Sunday School class, I had to look for material that would interest the class. Considering 12 out of the 16 kids in the class were energetic boys that wanted to play super heroes, I focused on activities that required movement and taught the lesson as heroes from the Bible. This approach not only caught their interest and preoccupied them, it helped them to remember the message. After all, when you're done running your security awareness campaign, you want your audience to remember the message.

Other articles in this series:
#1. Creating Real Security Awareness: Identify the requirement
Intro. Creating Real Security Awareness

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