Give your audience what it wants

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When we make a video here at IOM X, our research team steps in to make sure that what is being created will be clear and appealing to our target audience. Getting feedback along the way helps improve the final product, which will increase the likelihood of having a strong impact with viewers.

One way to get feedback is by holding focus group discussions. This means getting a small group of people together, who ideally match the characteristics of your target audience and presenting them with the idea or the draft product. They are then asked to discuss their thoughts, feelings and emotions towards it.

IOM X recently released a YouTube miniseries that revolves around exploitation and human trafficking in the garment industry. The story is about a fictional clothing company, ‘Torres Fashion’. The company is run by Winston, a young entrepreneur, and the clothes are produced by Mr. Cho, a factory owner. Like some clothing brands we wear on a daily basis, the factory in the miniseries cuts corners, exploiting workers under conditions tantamount to forced labour.

The aim of the miniseries is to make viewers aware of the fact that their clothing may be produced with the use of forced labour or exploitative practices. The viewers should be left thinking and caring about the labour that goes into the products that they use on a daily basis and moved enough to share the videos with their friends.

Armed with the first two scripts of our YouTube miniseries, IOM X’s research and learning team set off to find participants for our focus groups. Three separate discussions with students from Mahidol University and Thammasat University in Bangkok took place. A mix of about 30 bachelor and master’s students, from many different countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam participated in the focus groups.

While each group had different preferences and feedback, some of the same points were raised in all three discussions. For example, Winston’s sister, Lian came across as too stereotypical. In the original script, Lian was an unfashionable intern who cares about the environment and human rights. One participant pointed out, “I think it is a stereotype that people who are not fashionable care about human trafficking”. Another agreed, “It seems very Ugly Betty-ish,” she said.

In two of the three focus groups the idea of having facts at the end of each episode to help raise awareness about exploitation of factory workers came up. A student suggested, “Something that is visual is easier to understand. Maybe have evidence at the end, facts about what trafficking really looks like”. This prompted IOM X to include a quiz question at the end of each episode to let viewers test their knowledge about trafficking and exploitation in the garment industry.

Another common point of feedback from focus group participants was that they do not like to wait for new episodes of a series to be released. One participant explained, “Our generation likes to binge watch. I won’t remember to come back next week to watch the next episode”. Another said, “A week between episodes might be too long. All episodes should be released at the same time. Netflix made me this way. I hate when there is only one episode because then I can’t binge”. Based on this feedback IOM X decided to release all episodes of the YouTube miniseries at once.

Once the focus groups discussions were finished, the IOM X team sat down and discussed the comments generated in the three discussions. The issues that were most often raised were then noted, and this feedback was delivered to the production company, which made the appropriate changes to the scripts. The YouTube miniseries you can now watch HERE, features all these changes.

To learn more about forced labour, visit

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