Image courtesy of The Wall Street Journal
What does the Magic Mike franchise have in common with Dunkin Donuts?

Each keenly understands their Primary Consumer Target and stands by them. Magic Mike spent $7 million to build a now more than $500 million brand. How did they uncover this massive opportunity? By listening to their consumers and addressing a need. For example, they set up a confessional booth in Time’s Square where strangers could anonymously describe their desires. This data then went into formulating “character” archetypes for the movies and stage productions. It also helped them realize that their Primary Target was not in their mid 20s, but rather females over age 35, “a group more likely to sink $200 into antiaging cream than $20 into a man’s thong." Producers also realized that it was far more lucrative to “flip the script” on male striptease from man’s self-regard to an unmet need of its target, a female’s desire to be given the attention that they do not receive in real life.

Image courtesy of Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts, now called just Dunkin’, grew from a store in Quincy, MA into a billion dollar global brand by never forgetting their target consumer. Catering to working class New Englanders, the founder was a keen observer of his most frequent customers who happened to mostly purchase donuts and coffee. Rather than offer a broad selection, he focused the stores’ selection to sweet treat and switched the brand’s name from Open Kettle to Dunkin’ Donuts after observing a similar behavior pattern amongst these most loyal consumers. Since then, the brand has evolved to build on this breakfast staple, incorporating more breakfast desires of the brand’s primary consumer.

Too often, our clients fear that prioritizing certain consumers may damage their brand’s broader acceptance and negatively impact brand growth. In fact, the exact opposite is true.

Brands strive to address too broad a market and the message becomes generic, unable to truly resonate with any target group. The brand means nothing to everyone, rather than something to someone.

Ask yourself this question, would you rather spend an extra dollar converting someone who is already inclined to consider your product because your brand truly speaks to them, or do you want to spend on someone who needs a lot of convincing, but who won’t benefit your brand in the long run? A loyal, engaged consumer will help drive brand growth consistent with the brand and help your brand deliver on its promise and financial goals.

Every brand needs to find their “Brand Lover”. In simple terms, this is a subset of the population who values your brand’s promise more than anyone else. They have a higher intent to purchase due to your brand addressing a particular need or desire in their lives. These Brand Lovers appreciate your brand for showing up for them in a way that makes them feel that your brand really “gets” them.

Image courtesy of decca
The First Layer of the Onion-Demographics

To begin understanding your Brand Lover, this population is often defined demographically by factors such as age, education, family situation, income, sex, location and more. If you are already selling your product, analyze your existing data across these parameters to look for commonalities. Below are further resources to start your consumer journey. If your brand hasn’t launched, what is your hypothesis for which demographic group is most likely to have the problem your brand is addressing?

  • U.S. Census Bureau. A wonderful source to whittle down which of the 334 million U.S. population are your target
  • Infoplease. This resource combines the contents of an encyclopedia, a dictionary and several almanacs and gathers data nationally and internationally
  • StatsAmerica. A great resource to compare demographics of certain counties, cities and metro areas across the U.S.
Image courtesy of My Venture Pad
The Second Layer of the Onion-Psychographics

You cannot stop at demographics. One needs to further peel back the onion and ask questions regarding attitudes, perceptions and emotions around a certain category. Better understanding certain common personality or lifestyle traits, not to mention values, is incredibly important. This provides insights into how the product/ service may be used, where it will be used, and why the value proposition may be functionally and emotionally important to them. This key information is critical when optimizing a brand’s positioning and marketing strategy. From there, we will know:

  • What are the unmet needs your Brand Lover is trying to resolve? Which one is your brand addressing?
  • What benefit does your Brand deliver to address that need–emotionally and functionally?
  • How should the Key Message best be articulated to address the unmet need in unique and compelling way?
  • Who may sway your Brand Lover towards making a purchase?
  • Where will your Brand Lover go for more information?
  • What are the key venues on social media and otherwise where your Brand Lover will seek your product?

On a smaller scale, one can begin gathering psychographic data by speaking more directly to the consumer, whether online or in person (as Magic Mike researchers did). These early conversations provide valuable insights and validation of your offering and how it is viewed by your Brand Lover.

The Holistic Consumer Profile

The Holistic Consumer Profile is an articulation of your Brand Lover, combining both the demographic and psychographic data. It covers how they feel about this category (as well as related ones), what is important to them, and brings your Brand Lover to life, visually. This profile is referenced by Product Developers, Design Agencies, Social Media Agencies, and more to keep a common interpretation of the Brand Lover at the forefront of all brand efforts.

As you allocate your marketing funds, first drive awareness of your brand amongst these Brand Lovers as described in the Holistic Consumer Profile. Once your brand has grown and established itself, move onto your Secondary Target. This audience will have already started to become aware of the brand and will benefit from the positive endorsements of the Brand Lovers. This strategy allows each group to build on the next.

While uncovering your Brand Lover requires some legwork, it is fundamental to laying the ground work for your brand’s future growth. We’d love to help you better define your Brand Lover so please reach out.

Annette Herz

Annette is skilled at identifying growth opportunities and successfully guiding products from concept to launch. At Compass, she advises leading brands and category disruptors in the health & wellness, personal care and digital health sectors.

See All Works