Structure and Context

by Ben Perreira

Not unlike the 2005 classic Hustle and Flow, which won an Oscar for the even better track “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp,” (thanx wikip.) creating communications requires two ingredients.

The first ingredient is structure (hustle).

Structure is what your client, brand consulting firm or media department tells you. It is a very clear description of a target: 18-34 males who use 2GB of data on their smartphones, watch 9 hours of cable TV week, most of which is sports, and stream content on Netflix. Oh, and they’re “aspirational” because they answer in the affirmative to “I want to be successful in my life” on a nationally syndicated survey.

The hustle is like a horoscope: it makes sense to everyone who reads it because they know someone who kind of fits that description. Like a skeleton to a body, we need it. Like a body to a skeleton, there is lot besides this to consider.

I give you the second ingredient, context (flow).

Context is the how to structure’s what. It gives us information about how a target uses a given product, how they view that market, how that product fits into what they are trying to do with their lives. It is where we find perception gaps among competitors and a place to put the wedge that is arbitrage. It is where the desert ends and a playful ocean begins. It is the family that moves into the house – we know a lot about family by the house they choose, and vice versa.

Sick of analogies yet? How about another one. You shouldn’t eat hot sauce without a burrito, but when you get a burrito you should apply hot sauce liberally.

Bon appétit.