Personifying your Audience
Think about some of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Roadrunner, etc. What do they all have in common? The cartoonists personified animals and even inanimate objects (think Spongebob) to make fun characters children grow up with.
All of us have a favorite cartoon character we loved as a kid. We could identify with them. Our parents bought us the stuffed animals, countless plastic toys and video games. We have an emotional connection to these characters.
Marketers can use the same principles that connected us with our favorite cartoons to better understand their target audience. Consider an organic soap company that wanted to target socially conscious Gen Yers. You could personify your demographic and psychographic by calling her Lili. Then you have to do some character-building. You can start macro with, where does she shop? What are her favorite brands? Is she single? And you can even project what she’s going to do: After she graduates, does she want to get married and have children or focus on her career? You can even get granular with it: does she ever wear high heels? Does she want a job wear she can wear jeans?
Think introspectively. As you consider how to define your audience character, what qualities define you? Are you laid back and enjoy wearing flip-flops in the office or are you a traditionalist and wear a suit?
Personifying your audience can help you build an emotional bond that will guide your marketing and branding efforts. Because you stop thinking about your audience as white, female, 17-32 and start having a relationship with them. Just as you know your father doesn’t like sweaters for Christmas, you will learn intuitively what your audiences likes and dislikes.