How to find the similarities in your diverse audience

Whatever campaigns you might have going on at this moment, you can probably agree on the fact that defining and approaching your target audience is often the most difficult part of the process.

It sometimes feels as if you’re trying too many things at the same time, yet none of them seem to deliver the exact results you are longing for. You’re constantly looking for new approaches that can help you reach the objectives of your company.

Your target audience changes a lot, and it’s becoming so diverse, that if you don’t keep up with what they’re thinking, you won’t know how to approach them concretely – which leads to wasted budget. Every person can carry multiple identities that form the person they truly are, but if we take all these different types of identities into account, we can get confused and lost within the information we have.

That’s why at Allyens, we think it’s important to look at the bigger picture with a sober view. We help companies find the characteristics and information about their target audience that will help this audience engage with them.

People are different. Their interests, environment they grew up in, the culture they practice and more are all factors that helped them become the unique person they are. But in marketing activities, it’s really important to realize that even though people are different, they’re also the same. On many different levels.

We focus on trying to find those similarities within your target audience to make all your activities and strategies find their way through the maze of identities. We help companies or brands connect with your company on a more profound level by triggering certain feelings or parts of their identity. Applying such methods will not only help you see clearly through your target audience, it’ll also make every individual feel personally approached by you.

To find these similarities, we take it step by step.

Research the needs, pains and wishes

Assumptions based on nothing but gut feeling and perspective will always remain just assumptions. Of course, your gut feeling can tell you a lot, but it can also blur the bigger picture.

To understand exactly how the people in your target audience identify themselves, a thorough research is necessary. The research will in some cases confirm what you thought you already knew, but in other cases it helps companies create a whole new view and perspective on their current strategies.

Define the ruling similarities

Analyzing the results the research brings is another important part of the whole strategy. The choices that get made must be convertible into results.

Besides, it’s important to not take too many responsibilities at once. Start by making use of 2 or 3 important and relevant similarities and build your way up.

Test the theory and adjust accordingly

A theory is just a theory until it gets used in practice. That’s when you can observe how well something is working and like any other strategy, it’ll need fine tuning.

Start the strategy and adjust it according to the way it evolves. The more frequent you review your strategy, the faster you can intervene and make sure you reach the goals you’ve set.

Start building communities

When the similarities you’ve chosen work, your community will start growing really quickly. At that point, it’s important to make sure you don’t expect your community to grow by itself.

You have to invest time, precision, accuracy and dedication into building communities. It’s a give-and-take kind of situation. The more time you invest, the more your community will start to feel like the place-to-be in the target audience.

Need help with targeting your diverse target audience? Let us know at discover@allyens.com


Looking for a new challenge? Here are 7 reasons why you definitely have to work at Allyens

Wondering why you have the subtle need to join the team of Allyens? Well, by reading this, you will discover why! A brand new creative agency specialized in inclusive, viral and millennial communications across a digitally connected global world. Well, these are the different components that portray just a glimpse of what Allyens is.

1. We are the most diverse agency in Belgium

The aim of Allyens is directed towards the current superdiverse, digitally connected audience. It’s a response to other brands who ignore the existing diversity of today’s society. As a result, those brands exclude themselves from crucial components that hold us all together. Diversity is also a prominent mark of the recruited talents who are wandering around the office. We want to feel reconnected with the world. Therefore, we make sure that people don’t feel left out and recognize themselves in our campaigns, as well as in our workplace. Working at this agency means working with people from different countries, backgrounds, cultures, etc. It’s a little bit like working abroad, just a small feeling that you will experience. You will get the point as soon as you work here.

2. We don’t believe in one identity

Allyens’ motto? If you exclude society, society will exclude you. Allyens believes in an inclusive approach. The more inclusive, the better. People and all their identities are taken together and respected in this agency. Everyone is unique in their own way. No one is mainstream. No one fits into one box. Nevertheless, the problem is that there is the constant labelling of where you should be part of. Therefore, at Allyens we don’t make segmentations on the basis of ethnic backgrounds, religion, gender, sexuality or any other aspect that can be distinguished to exclude someone from another. Don’t interpret this the wrong way, one identity doesn’t exist, but the feeling of inclusiveness is of great importance. So, working at Allyens means being included!

3. We will challenge your creativity

The work ethic of Allyens? If you are willing to learn a lot every single day, you are in the right place at the right time. At Allyens you gain the opportunity to think big and to take enormous steps in which creativity is key. You will work on projects in which an unlimited mind can come up with crazy, but thoughtful ideas. So, when you are not afraid of experimenting with your mind and skills, you will be the person that brings marketing campaigns to a successful end.

4. You will enjoy the start-up life

Nothing is better than starting from scratch, also when it comes to working at a start-up company. Motivation, together with great business ideas, are the answers to your questions. At Allyens, you will have the luck to experience how it is to start and maintain a new agency. Every facet of entrepreneurship will be thrown at you, but this is how you can catch the most valuable and relevant insights. There will be an overload of big career opportunities in this fast-growing agency. That’s nothing to worry about, but something to grab with both hands, or let us say, with your whole body!

5. We are pioneers in working with millennials, as a millennial

Nowadays, millennials are the most precious population, but they are the least understood. At Allyens, this is a matter that already has been tackled, so join us! Therefore, we are pioneers in working together with this generation of which we are at the same time part of. Moreover, we are in favor of involving millennials actively in all our projects and inquiries. Because millennials are a central point within this agency, we can say that our acquired knowledge is evolved into expertise that makes us one of a kind. Just like the millennials are.

6. We create projects that reach millions of people

Allyens believes that a story which doesn’t go viral, doesn’t exist. What this agency characterizes, is the creation of an added value by storytelling. Storytelling and striving to gain a viral effect form the key within marking campaigns. To us, it’s all about leaving a mark, creating an impact and drawing attention to the audience. If the audience wants to engage and change behaviour because of the content, our mission is accomplished. A great motivation to participate in our objectives, isn’t it?

7. You will be working together with some big names

Thomson Reuters, BNP Paribas, the city of Antwerp, Ketnet, VDAB, VRT, the Flemish government agency, and plenty of other big company names belong to the credits of Allyens. Only in three years, all these projects can be assigned to the list on which Allyens put effort and time in. Moreover, the word of mouth strategy and our strong vision have given Allyens the chance to work with these companies. Reason enough to spread to word and join this company, don’t you think?


Right now, we have a couple of open vacancies, ready to be filled by creative, ambitious people who want to be part of an agency with a clear mission. Are you one of them?



What the f*ck is inclusive communications? Here are 5 things you need to know about it

If you scan our website, you’ll probably read the words “inclusive communications” about 132 times. It’s the core business of Allyens, it’s what we believe in and ultimately what we sell. But what does it actually mean? Well, there are 5 basic elements everyone should know to understand what it means to communicate in an inclusive way.

1. The goal is always to maximize reach

It’s the ultimate way to maximize the reach of every campaign and means of communication in general. It’s an approach that makes sure a certain message is seen or heard by a diverse range of people. That’s why inclusive communications is the perfect answer to a question we at Allyens hear often: “How do I reach an audience I don’t connect with today?”.

2. It’s a perfect fit with our super diverse society

Inclusive communications recognizes and responds to the variety of diverse and layered identities of today. In global and super diverse societies, it can become a challenge to reach everyone that is part of it. Inclusive communications ensures that a diverse group of people will not only receive your message, but also that they’ll respond to it in a positive manner, increasing user satisfaction.

3. It usually starts with simply being more accessible

Accessibility is a key word when talking about inclusiveness. Whether it’s adapting designs, languages and materials, or redefining a larger strategic plan, the general idea is to keep in mind the needs of more people than you normally would.

4. It won’t cost you a fortune

It’s the most cost efficient way of communicating. It doesn’t require a different strategy for every small target group, but it includes them in the overall communications plan. The initial integration of inclusiveness as a vision and the very first steps may look like a big challenge, but in the end, it will create more positive outcomes than you might expect.

5. It’s made for companies with a long-term vision

It requires flexibility and a willingness to grow. Brands, companies or organizations can only adapt inclusive communications if they are willing to adjust certain habits and standard processes that may have developed over the course of years. They can only communicate inclusively when they change with the society they’re part of.

Most companies we talk to agree with us: inclusive communications is necessary for every brand that exists today. But if anything of the above doesn’t sound logic to you at all, we’d love to explain further. Feel free to contact us for a little inclusive small talk and a coffee at the office.


Our founders, Taha Riani and Hanan Challouki, are listed in Forbes 30 under 30 list

In the words of Forbes: “They may be young, but they are ones for the ages.” The annual Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list features young, talented people across a diverse list of categories. And the founders of Allyens have made it to the 30 under 30 list of Media & Marketing.

Challouki and Riani, 26 and 23 years old respectively, started this agency three years ago. Their vision was to make marketing and communications more inclusive and accessible for everyone. Over the course of just three years, they have proven that they can not only have an impact on the industry, but also that they are able to reach millions of millennials.

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Working with clients such as BNP Paribas, VRT and Colruyt Group, Allyens is steadily growing into an agency with a unique expertise in the field of viral and inclusive communications and marketing. Being acknowledged by Forbes is definitely an honor to Allyens.

The reports and editors of Forbes vetted thousands of nominations and polled expert judges to compile the 30 under 30 list and ensure that each member is a leader in his/her industry. The judges for Media & Marketing are Arianna Huffington (business woman and co-founder of the Huffington Post), Charlotte Moore (Director of Content at BBC) and Emilie Tabor and Maddie Raedts (co-founders of IMA).


Starting from scratch — how our traumas led to our business

We can’t talk about our vision and ideas for Allyens without discussing how we got here in the first place. It was not an easy process (is it ever?) and it was not like companies that started with a light bulb going off in someone’s head, creating a product out of nothing, being successful and living happily ever after. Although we do hope it ends that way (actually, we hope it never ends), this story is a little more personal.

It’s all about identity

We are not the easiest people in today’s society. We don’t easily fit in a box, yet we’re constantly labeled as if we do. We’re always searching for the balance between the different identities we exist of and we’re never completely standing on one side of the scale. Starting up Allyens was more than a part of this search, it was like looking for a way out. We needed a way out of the simple-minded solutions that are being created and implemented in today’s companies, to reach people those companies don’t even know anything about. We were looking for ways to feel connected with the world around us and help others connect with their environment too. We were looking for something new and we decided we were the one’s who were going to create it.

Being here in this world with our own super diverse identities, we were well aware of the challenges that existed and still exist in our societies and in the way we communicate with each other. Based on stereotypes, labels or simply rumors, many people focus on how we’re all so different from each other and start the conversation from this conclusion. Many brands and companies do this too, making it part of their strategy. We believe that’s why we never felt approached by them. We were and are still determined to change this.

From philosophy to business

We had already developed Mvslim.com, an online platform that inspires millions of people everywhere, spreading positive content and influencing the mainstream discourse about today’s millennials. Since this became a huge success, we got invited to give a presentation at an event of Open VRT, a community for digital creatives that was set up by the public broadcaster of Flanders. The host of the event was Tom De Cock, who is pretty much Belgium’s most creative radio host, at least according to us. He was excited about our presentation and invited us to his home, where we had a great conversation about our philosophy, how we think media should improve their communication strategies and become more inclusive. He was so excited that it motivated us to take the first step and translate our ideas to a real business.

So we got to work. We shared our thoughts and ideas with others and it seemed very recognizable for many people in our environment. A lot of them didn’t feel approached by the majority of today’s brands, whether in media or other industries, and felt alienated. We knew we wanted to do

something about it, we already had our ideas, our vision, but we didn’t have a name. It became a Summer brainstorm session that ended with the name Allyens, merging the words “alien” and “ally”. Because we want to transform aliens (companies, people, anyone who isn’t communicating in an inclusive way) to allies (those who are), with our own vision of how we choose to connect people with each other. Instead of focussing on how we’re different from each other, we look for common ground between people, different target groups that a brand or organization is looking to connect with. And there are many, but that doesn’t mean they all work for everyone as well. That’s where we enter: in the search for similarities that can expand a company in a more open and positive direction.

In the meantime, we’ve already been working for exactly three years now, completely based on word of mouth of the great companies we got a chance to work with.