For those cultural marketers working to place their audience segments at the heart of the organisation, today’s blog flags a couple of reminders regarding nomenclature.


Man walks into a room. Turns to the audience and says “Flasks and fleeces”. Crowd goes bursts into gales of laughter.

Who says audience segmentation isn’t a riot?

Fair enough, perhaps it’s not. But when that term was used to describe a particular outdoor heritage site visitor segment it did raise a chuckle. Now it isn’t that Rick’s delivery doesn’t always posess a certain Rabelasian quality. It’s just that the term “Flasks and fleeces” immediately conjured an image that everyone understood and appreciated.

Which served as a reminder on two fronts.

Firstly that the names of audiences segments are open to interpretation and mean different things in different contexts. Whilst ‘Essex Man’ of the Thatcher era still stands the test of time, ‘£50 Man’ has lost his relevance as quickly as the DVD market has declined. Equally, whilst “Hyacinth Bucket’ might have been a perfectly reasonably way to describe a section of Middle-England, it would be wise to check that your audience aren’t themselves sporting floral prints from Country Casuals with a copy of the Daily Mail poking out of their briefcase. And at all costs resist the allure of alliteration – just because ‘Traumatising Teens’ or ‘Diabolical Dads’ has a certain ring to it, doesn’t mean that it makes any sense. As such, good audience segment names really need to be able to stand alone and weather the test of time.

The second reminder is that it often takes time for newly emergent audience segments to be recognised.

Whilst “Flasks and fleeces” was used to describe a group of fairly traditional outdoor heritage site visitors, in a few years time it could just as easily portray the growing number of paradoxically outer-directed yet authentic, natural experience seekers who are turning to the outdoors as a leisure past-time. This group have contributed to the re-discovery of our national love of camping (ehr, shouldn’t that be glamping?), fuelled the popularity of allotments, bee-keeping and foraging whilst sparking the re-invention of brands such as Barbour, Hunter and Thermos. Their bookshelves groan with the musings of High Fernly Wittingstall and Monty Don dvds. All of which is feeding through to the programming and retail offers of heritage sites and outdoor leisure destinations such as Yorkshire Sculpture Park where landscape, art and locally sourced produce converge.

Hence the ‘Flasks and fleeces” to which we referred could well become more Cath Kidston than Carry on Camping, more Daisy Lowe than Last of the Summer Wine. The National Trust appear to have already cottoned-on to this attitude-shift. For evidence of this we’d encourage our readers to look no further than this excellent youtube clip allegedly released on their behalf last year. English Heritage have gone one step further in the modernisation process with the appointment of a new CEO who is only eight years old – we should point out that that’s a Child Executive Officer.

So back to the “Flasks and fleeces”. Who’s image was it that caused so much mirth? Why none other than the home-producing love-birds from the golden age of televisión, Tom and Barbara from The Good Life.

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