In Depth Audience Analysis
According to the community profile of the Springfield, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, there are two distinct sets of major stakeholders which the Chamber of Commerce wishes to court with their data. First, there are business interests who may wish to perform business in the city of Springfield; to that end, the Chamber of Commerce provides substantial information on demographics, career opportunities, preferred business listings and an index of advertisers to indicate the city’s ability to accommodate a number of business needs, as well as other businesses to network with upon arriving in Springfield. The other group of stakeholders are those wishing to move to Springfield, to which much information is provided on the quality of life in the city. Information on sustainability efforts, education, health care, real estate, community service, recreation, arts & culture, and more is provided to prospective entrants to the city, to allow them to see everything they might be able to do if they moved to Springfield. The message views the audience as smart, enterprise-minded individuals hoping to experience a fun, vibrant city that also has many business opportunities, all for a very low cost of living. (This is made clear in an infographic bar graph that showcases many other Illinois cities, all with higher costs of living than in Springfield).
Analysis of Community Stakeholders
Based on the ‘People’ portion of the Chamber of Commerce’s information section, and the demographics contained within it, the most prominent population of the city seem to be predominantly middle-aged white men and women, making them the chief community stakeholders of the city. The median household income in Springfield is $52, 925, which is thoroughly middle-class, though this is helped along incredibly with a very low cost of living. The largest employer of individuals in Springfield by far is the public government, indicating the city’s dedication to public service over private enterprise. The next two industries that hire the most people are in healthcare and education, with private hospital care only ranking 5th in terms of major employers in Springfield and its corresponding county. Employment seems to be on the rise in the past three-four years, showcasing a willingness to grow and expand business to further lower unemployment. Based on the information provided in the community profile, Springfield appears to be a relatively calm, slowly-paced capital city, focused on public service (due to its status as the capital city of Illinois) and characterized by a gradual but significant economy recovery from the 2008 economic downturn.
Based on our audience analysis, there are two recommendations suggested for the changing of the message of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce:
1) Bring a greater focus on younger audiences in the profile’s messaging.
2) Place a smaller emphasis on Lincoln’s history in the messaging of the profile.
These two suggestions would improve the messaging of the Chamber of Commerce in multiple ways. While there are mentions of the benefits of younger people’s education opportunities in Springfield, less is made of the potential ‘hipness’ of Springfield itself. Demographically, most of the people in the city are middle-aged; in order to draw more young people to Springfield, more incentives must be provided to get them to come to the city. Currently, Springfield is touted as a good place for kids to grow up and adult families to grow old – if the Chamber of Commerce were to cater more to 20s and 30s-age populations through a greater emphasis on arts, culture and nightlife in their community profile, younger people may be more inclined to move to Springfield.
Currently, most of the sections in the Community Profile literature have an “Echoes of Lincoln” section in which some aspect of the city’s history or infrastructure is tied back to Abraham Lincoln. Seemingly, the purpose of this is to create a sense of history within the city, linking it to its association with government and America itself; however, this can also come across as antiquated and stuffy, placing too much of an emphasis on public government and not enough on the potential vibrancy of Springfield itself. While this messaging makes sense (the linking of Lincoln to the city’s present and past allows the city to feel more ‘American’), it can also stifle innovation and make the city feel like an historical landmark instead of a living, vibrant municipality. Limiting this message to a smaller extent than it is currently being presented may help to make the city seem fresher and more innovative.
If these two recommendations were to be followed, it may be possible to transform Springfield’s message from that of a staid, government-minded place for middle-aged families to settle down and make their homes to an economically viable, young and exciting city with a fresher, younger population that will be able to bring about new and creative changes to the nominally slowly-paced nature of the city itself. If the goal of Springfield is to expand and revitalize its population with a younger audience, this would be the strategy that would benefit them most.
Community Profile. (2014). Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved from