Affinity Messengers: leveraging hypersegmented campaigns

May 2, 2024


For many years we have been using the strategy of trusted messengers in campaigns at Purpose. Those messengers are highly credible among their audiences. They have played a crucial role in building genuine connections with their target audience and effectively spreading our messages. It is worth mentioning that there are many reasons why they are part of an outstanding communications strategy. However, as we evolved and improved our strategies of communications, we came to notice an even more compartmented and relevant category, especially related to hypersegmented campaigns —those targeted to very specific audiences, therefore demanding customization. The affinity messengers belong in this new category. Although there is no given definition for such expression, we have realized that those messengers share many characteristics with trusted messengers, but at a higher level of proximity and relevance to our audience, especially in campaigns aimed at vulnerable communities. 


Affinity messengers are more than just communicators; they are catalysts of connection and change. Not only are they trustworthy, but they also carry inherent connection with the public we need to reach. They can be their friends, neighbors, local leaders, nano-influencers. They know and acknowledge the local reality, they share the same values and speak the same language. The benefits of relying on them in hypersegmented campaigns are perceptible. They deeply understand the local context, including cultural and social nuances. That reflects in their ability to determine the visuals of the campaign, the message that will resonate the most with their audience, and the social or environmental issues we need to address. Their participation increases the authenticity and effectiveness of our campaigns, helping to translate our messages and making them easier to understand. Besides sharing information that creates new knowledge, they can also inspire new behaviors and change perceptions. The proximity with the community makes them have an intimate understanding of its dreams and challenges. This knowledge not only allows them to deliver a message, but also to shape it to create the impact we want. And we can prove it! Check it out…

One year ago, we developed a hypersegmented campaign in Jurunas neighborhood, in the city of Belém do Pará. Named “Bora Lá Vacinar” (roughly Let’s Get Vaccinated), the campaign was a part of Verified, a United Nations’ global initiative. Our challenge was to change the residents’ opinion about the importance of vaccination. Our goal was to make residents re-evaluate their opinion about vaccine reactions and their own risk perception. We wanted to inform, inspire, change paradigms and promote healthcare. All that because, at that point in time, Belém had the second lowest vaccine coverage rate among capital cities of the states in the North Region of Brazil, according to DATASUS. In that moment, we relied on several affinity messengers. They were local communications professionals, that is, local press services, designers, writers and a photographer, who created a compelling narrative and powerful visuals for the campaign; artists such as Dona Onete and Renato Rosa, invaluable in the creation of our campaign jingle in the local, Northern tone and rhythm; scientists such as Drauzio Varella and Jaqueline Goes, household names all over Brazil, who also represent and address the challenges of vulnerable communities; and, lastly, community leaders acting in the following organizations: Coletivo de Mulheres Jurunenses, ONG Ocas and G10 Favelas —they were the heart and soul of the campaign, responsible for amplifying our message and mobilizing the community to learn about vaccination. 

In other campaigns, such as Para Cada Uma (in Portuguese) and others inside the scope of Verificado (in Portuguese), we demonstrated the effectiveness of trusted messengers. In this campaign in Belém, however, we could prove more: messengers who are not only trusted, but also have affinity and close proximity with their public, can make a significant difference in the outcome of hypersegmented campaigns. Results were impressive: a surge in 18% in the number of people from the community who believe in the safety of all vaccines; and a 14% increase in the opinion, among them, that vaccination plays a fundamental role to halt the spread of disease outbreaks and epidemics. We measured those results based on interviews with 41 leaders and recall surveys —that is, surveys conducted after the end of the campaign with both targeted and non-targeted people to assess what they recall and how their perception changed— with 500 residents of that community. 

All those results reinforce the relevance of affinity messengers, who do not only share information, but also establish emotional and cultural connections with their audience. They are true change agents, capable of generating mensurable impact. Therefore, in campaigns demanding a high level of segmentation and customization and, more importantly, unfolding in territories where digital communications are often limited, it is paramount to rely on them increasingly more. They strengthen our connection with the audience and also help us to ensure that our messages are received with the impact we need.

Gabriel Gomes Creative Director & Local Head of Innovation and Capabilities
Juliana Matteucci Strategy Manager
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