Stereotyping and Profiling
All dogs bark
True enough… essentially, safe to say, all dogs do bark. But all barking dogs don’t sound identical, or are motivated by the same thing, or send similar messages.
So, we’ve set up a blog premise about a seemingly unsavvy subject like stereotyping/profiling and we’re equating your customers to dogs. Be patient. Stay with us.
The good “stereotyping”
While in general, here in civilized society, we don’t recommend stereotyping your fellow humans (or their dogs). But in brand marketing, we highly recommend it. The critical difference is that we don’t go into our research with a stereotype, but we do come out of our research with a stereotype—an accurate and extremely helpful stereotype. We emerge with clarity and a purpose, a clearer picture of the who, the why, the where, and a bark we can instantly recognize.
By building a persona based on the actual reality of your audience, you can develop a precise brand story that truly resonates with and motivates that customer.
Ask me about me
We find that our clients typically have a pretty good idea who their customer is, at least on the surface. The real transformation of message and result happens when you get below the surface of the obvious. Great brands have great insights into the lifestyles and tendencies of their audience and/or potential audience. Maybe your customer lives in the working mom category—that’s a start. Does she drive to work or take public transportation? Where does she shop for groceries? What does she and her family eat? Where does she vacation? None of those questions may relate directly to the product or service you’re offering, but the insight and perspective gleaned will help you formulate authentic, attractive and successful messaging.
You may have nailed the customer persona, but have been marketing in the wrong place. You might be marketing in the right place with the wrong message. Even a wee bit of investigation can help avoid those miscues.
That wee bit of investigation can be very easy and straightforward—ask. Ask via a survey, like Survey Monkey, or other online resources. Ask via customer communications. Create your own simple survey. Ask a handful of those working moms to chat for 30 minutes. Go collect data. Do some legwork to understand your primary customer, and while you’re at it, determine your secondary customer, their money just as good. The revelations and realizations will be well worth the effort. (You can of course, also ask us to do all of the above and more.)
As with many of our blogs and podcasts and conversations about branding, it’s important to not let personal preference drive your customer identity. Our 40-something, male energy product client initially leaned on his own experience as a 40-something, male energy product consumer, when in the stark light of reality, his audience was 18-24 year-old women… who knew? We did, because we dug in. This client readily saw the stark light and followed it. Not always the case as some clients have a hard time accepting that their ideal client may not look, act or be like them. Don’t be that myopic client.
See, stereotyping and profiling are not bad things (when you spend 500 words explaining yourself). Develop a customer that you can name, put a face to, spend time with, and truly get to know. You’ll make your brand far more engaging and set the stage for the creative persuasion to come.
From the barking dogs at,
To hear this, and all Brands Made Meaningful podcasts, just click
We tell, and we show. See work examples at sussner.com/work
And we’d love to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org